Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Simply the Best

What's Love Got To Do With It?
Director: Brian Gibson
Cast: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Lewis, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Khandi Alexander, Chi McBride
Released: June 25, 1993

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Angela Bassett (lost to Holly Hunter for The Piano)
Best Actor - Laurence Fishburne (lost to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia)


I was a big fan of Tina Turner's music before I saw this movie and knew about her past with the abusive Ike Turner, but after watching this, I had a whole new appreciation for the struggles she went through and how she became a superstar recording artist. This is probably one of the better music biopics I've seen. It's based on an autobiography Tina Turner wrote called I, Tina. The movie mainly focuses on her meeting Ike Turner and how she became a recording artist. We do get a few scenes of her as a little girl, then named Anna Mae Bullock (while I did know that Tina Turner wasn't her given name, I couldn't have told you her birth name prior to seeing this film) growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee. Now that song "Nutbush City Limits" makes a lot of sense! "They call it Nutbush! Oh, Nutbush! Nutbush city limits! Nutbush city!" On the Nutbush, TN Wiki page, it says that "Nutbush is best known as the home of Tina Turner." Who would have thought? That's probably the only thing they're known for (it's a town with a population of a little over a thousand people).  You have to admit that's a pretty impressive thing to be known for. What are the odds that a town with such a small population would have produced one of the world's most successful singers? And I'm sure you'll find many signs like this if you drive through it:

The movie establishes her love of singing as we see her as a young girl singing (very loudly) in the church choir. She is so disruptive and obnoxious that the choir director kicks her out! As a teenager, she relocates to St. Louis where she sees Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne), the bandleader of a band called Kings of Rhythm, perform at a bar. The ladies think Ike is very smooth and charismatic and every time his band plays "Darlin', You Know I Love You" (a song I was not aware of prior to seeing this film), he lets one of his many admirers try her hand at singing, but will take the mic away is she gets booed for being awful. Anna Mae and her sister go back to the club and when the song is played, her sister convinces her to take the mic and sing. Anna Mae had been practicing the song and is embarrassed when her sister and mother catch her singing it into the bathroom mirror. This is the scene where Anna Mae catches Ike's eye (and ear!)

Obviously Angela Bassett is lip-synching with Tina Turner's voice dubbed in. I believe Tina provided all the vocal tracks for the film. Which you kind of need because she has such a distinctive singing voice. It's hard to imagine anyone else but Angela Bassett in the iconic role because she is so great in it, but there were other big names up for the part including Whitney Houston. That would have been really weird to see a really popular singer play a....really popular singer. I know they would have made her up to look like Tina and any signs of Whitney Houston would have vanished, but it still would be weird. Plus, let's be honest, while Whitney was a great singer, she really wasn't that great in the acting department. Okay, at best. Everyone knows that Angela Bassett can act circles around her. There's really no contest.

Anna Mae becomes ones of Ike's back up singers, known as the Ikettes. She is clearly the best singer and becomes Ike's favorite. This is where the movie starts to move fairly fast. Anna Mae moves in with Ike, gets pregnant, they get married in Mexico, they have a baby boy. We get a very quick scene where Ike tells Anna Mae that new name is Tina Turner. There's no explanation on why 'Tina" was chosen. Perhaps he likes alliteration?

Soon Ike and Tina Turner become a sensational duo and are writing and recording hits and making lots of money and are soon able to afford a nice house with a pool and furnished with nice stuff. Ike is angry at Tina for buying so much stuff and tells her she needs to sing the songs he's writing for her better and she offends him by saying all his songs are starting to sound the same. This results in the first time we see Ike get physically abusive towards her and it's pretty harrowing to watch. He is slapping her, dragging her, punching her, cussing at her in front of their children (their biological son and Ike's two sons from a previous marriage whose ex-wife (Khandi Alexander) had dropped off at their house one day and both adults are arguing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN. Real nice!)

At one point, Tina tries to escape when she leaves the house in the middle of the night and takes the children with her to her mother's. They take a bus and while at a pit stop, she has her son, but is trying to find her step-sons and finds them by Ike's car. He had found them and threatens for Tina to get into the car with him and the children.

While performing some of their latest hits on an American Bandstand-type show (maybe that was the show),  Tina and Ike are approached by Phil Spector who wants to record a song with Tina. Ike mistakes this and thinks this means BOTH of them, but no, he only wants Tina. The song is "River Deep, Mountain High" and this was the first song played in the movie that I was familiar with. This was around 1965 and this is where Tina starts becoming much more popular than Ike which makes him jealous and makes him more irate which only results in more beatings for Tina. He even rapes her in their home recording booth after beating her up and getting angry at her for the way she's singing a song.

Of course we get a scene of Ike and Tina singing what is their most well-known song, "Proud Mary". In fact, this song is so synonymous  with them, that I always thought they were the original writers/singers of the song and all the covers came after them, but it was first recorded by the band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. But ask anybody who sings that song and I'll guarantee you they'll say, "Tina Turner".

At one point, Ike beats Tina so bad that she ends up in the hospital and she is visited by one of the former, Ikettes, Jackie (Vanessa Bell Calloway), one of Tina's closest friends. She has always pleaded for Tina to leave Ike. She turns Tina onto Buddhism which helps her calm herself and gather her thoughts. It gives her confidence and tt's the turning point for her when she and Ike are staying in a swanky hotel while on tour and Ike beats Tina so bad that she has blood all over her face. She runs out of the room and out of the hotel, crosses a busy street with cars honking everywhere and goes to a cheaper hotel where she asks to speak to the manager and says, "My name is Tina Turner and I need a room. I only have 32 cents in my pocket but I promise I will pay you back." Of course they accommodate her.

That incident was the final straw and soon Ike and Tina are in court. Tina says that Ike can have all the rights to their songs and keep all their material possessions and pretty much everything else. The only thing she wants to keep is her name. She is so confident in her ability to build herself up with her name and talent that she doesn't care if she looses everything she's earned along the way. This makes Ike angry (what else is new?) and says that was the name he gave her and that she should be stripped of it if she is leaving him, but the judge lets her keep her famous household name.

Obviously we know who the real winner is. Tina Turner went on to become one of the most famous recording artists in the world and is worth millions of dollars. After breaking up with Ike in 1978, she began working on her solo career and in 1984 released an album with all the songs I'm most familiar with like "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and "Private Dancer." Just as I did with Michael Jackson Madonna, and Whitney Houston, she is one of the artists I grew up with so of course I'm mostly familiar with her '80s music. (Although of course I knew "Proud Mary" as a child). She went on to record many popular hits. She's won eight Grammys.  I know she now resides in Switzerland. I remember she was living in the south of France at one time (I think it was Nice?) and about ten years ago InStyle magazine did an article (complete with gorgeous photos) of her estate. Tina Turner's life is just fine. Ike, on the other hand, became known as being a wife abuser and never really elevated to any fame besides being the ex-husband (and abuser) of Tina Turner. He's only known for being a bad guy, really. He spent some time in jail for drug-related charges, continued his drug habit with cocaine and died in 2007. His life did not turn out so well.

The movie ends with Tina singing her new hit single (at the time), "What's Love Got To Do With It?" because you couldn't NOT have that song in this movie! It's kind of cool because you see Angela Bassett in the famous Tina Turner shag wig sing it and then it shows the real Tina Turner singing the song at a huge stadium. While Angela and Tina have completely different shaped faces and facial features, their bodies are very physically similar and Angela emulates Tina's stage mannerisms so well. You know that she did her homework with studying Tina during her performances.

Highly recommended; I might even go so far as to say that this is my favorite music movie biopic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What a Feeling

Inside Out
Directors: Pete Doctor and Ronald Del Carmen
Voice Talent: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan, Kaitlyn Dias
Released: June 19, 2015
Viewed in theaters: June 22, 2015


Congratulations, Pixar, you've done it again! You've managed to make me cry like a baby while watching one of your films. This is the first Pixar movie I've seen in the theater since Toy Story 3 in 2010 and the first new Pixar movie I've watched since seeing Brave on DVD in early 2013, but the wait was worth it. I loved it. It's really hard for Pixar to do any wrong. And this one ranks on the higher end of their list. I made sure to attend the 9 pm show to make sure there weren't any kids around. I have had made the mistake of seeing Pixar movies in the middle of the afternoon with tons of screaming kids and no, I will not ever make that mistake again and I never did. Ironically, I saw Jurassic World at 9 pm and there were kids everywhere! Including a few younger than the age of five! WTF? The youngest people at my Inside Out viewing were teenagers. 

Spoilers ahoy! (See this movie!)

They take an interesting approach with this movie as the emotions in an eleven year old girl's heads are the characters and take the "controls" for whenever Riley (the young girl) is feeling a certain emotion. 

Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear, and Sadness

The emotions are Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). There is a memory vault of the emotions that Riley acquires and each memory is represented by its emotion's corresponding color. Joy is represented by yellow and therefore most of Riley's emotions are yellow. (You can see in the above pictures the colored orbs behind the characters...those are the memories). Joy is very proud that the majority of Riley's memories have been happy and takes great pride in that. Riley loves her life in Minnesota. She has many friends, loves to play hockey, and joke around with her mom and dad (voiced by Diane Lane and Kyle McLachlan). Joy couldn't ask for anything better and thinks nothing will ever go wrong until the family moves to San Francisco causing all the emotions panic. 

Nothing goes right with the move. Riley doesn't like her new house and the moving van has gotten lost along the way. She has trouble making friends at her new school and misses Minnesota. (And I loved how it was always "Minnesota" - because nobody knows any cities in that state!) As Joy explains to us, part of Riley's mind is creating Personality Islands. These help define Riley and make her who she is. These include Friendship Island, Family Island, Hockey Island, etc. However, these start to crumble as Riley loses interest in hockey because it's not the same to her anymore or getting angry at her best friend back home.

Riley's mother tells her she knows that moving has been tough on her and that she wants her to stay strong and be her "happy girl" as Riley is known for being positive most of the time. Riley tries to do that for her parents, but it's gotten to be too much for her. This rings very true for me and I'm sure many others as sometimes you feel like you need to be happy/positive for the sake of others, but inside you are anything but.

Meanwhile, inside her head, Joy is trying to keep Riley happy while also making sure Sadness doesn't get anywhere near the controls or turn one of Riley's memories into a sad one. She draws a circle for Sadness to stand in and keep all the sadness in that small circle. Joy doesn't want Sadness to be an overwhelming emotion for Riley.

Somehow, Joy and Sadness get sucked out of "headquarters" and end up in Riley's subconscious where, in order to get back to the control room, they have to get through Long term Memory while hitching a ride on the Train of Thought and along the way they enter Imagination Land and Dream Productions. They even go through a section which was Abstract Thought. I'm pretty sure that one flew over all the kiddies' heads! 

Joy's and Sadness's trek to get back to Headquarters is a journey and meanwhile, Anger, Disgust, and Fear have become the main emotions for Riley which results in her back talking and yelling at her parents. There was one scene where we saw her parents' own emotions inside their heads and it made me cringe a little because it was very stereotypical: the wife's emotions are nagging at the husband because he isn't paying attention and doesn't notice that their daughter is unhappy and the husband's emotions aren't paying attention because they are thinking of the game and don't know why the wife is wanting his attention. It's the only part of the movie that's just really stupid and we've seen this joke a thousand times. 

Along the way, Joy and Sadness meet Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley's imaginary friend from her younger days who is part elephant, part cat, and part dolphin. He agrees to take the two of them back to HQ. I loved the scene where they garbage-man type characters who are sucking up some of Riley's memories and protests this until one of them tells her that Riley doesn't need to know all the name of all the Pretty Princess Ponies (I forget exactly what it was...but it was something to that effect). I loved this because I actually do remember most of the names of my My Little Ponies. I actually have a lot of useless and stupid information stored in my brain! They also erase all her memories of the piano pieces she's learned except for "Heart and Soul" and "Chopsticks". But of course! 

All throughout the movie, Joy has been very dismissive of Sadness, not having any time for her depression. And I know this is going to sound weird, but Sadness made me laugh so much. Just her delivery and Debbie Downer-ness was great. "I'm too sad to walk." She was really kind of a pathetic little thing. But she has a very nice moment with Bing Bong when he cries about Riley forgetting about him and listens to him and lets him cry it out. When Joy and Sadness finally get back (and not without tears from me as their journey is not without trials and tribulations!), Joy pushes Sadness to the controls and Riley, who has decided to run away and has become emotion-less at this point the other emotions have gotten the control boards jammed, just becomes overwhelmed with sadness and she returns homes to her parents who are relieved to see her and she is just crying and telling them all the feelings she's been holding in. Then her parents start crying, I start crying, I'm sure everyone else in my theater was crying! It was so sad!  All along you knew that Sadness was going to play a major role and she does. This movie points out that it's OKAY to be sad and it's perfectly natural emotion. 

It's kind of hard to explain this movie, but once you see it, it makes a lot more sense. It's very clever filmmaking and the story is great and heartwarming. It made me laugh and cry so it definitely got all my emotions in overdrive!  Highly recommended.

I loved the end because they showed different minor characters and their emotions at work. We see Riley bump into a boy her age and all his emotions are freaking out and yelling, "GIRL, GIRL, GIRL!" We even see the emotions of a dog and a cat. The cat made me laugh so much because it's so true. Its emotions are just wandering around and not paying attention and doing whatever they want.

The emotions notice a new button has popped up among the controls and pronounce the word as "Pooo-bore-tee". Hehe. Is a sequel in the works?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Welcome to

Jurassic World
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, BD Wong
Released: June 12, 2015
Viewed in theaters: June 16, 2015





If you remember, a few years back I posted my top ten most memorable movie experiences and, of course, Jurassic Park made the cut.  After my brother had seen it with his friends and  hearing him rave about it, I didn't want to be left out and wanted to see it too so my mom took me. The movie scared me so much....and so did my mom as she kept grabbing me every time something scary happened and that scared me more sometimes! But I loved seeing those movie dinosaurs come to life and had a lot of fun watching it, that I didn't mind I almost had a heart attack a couple times during the duration of the film!

The last time I saw Jurassic Park was July 2007 so I would like to revisit it and write a review. I don't have any plans on re-watching its two god-awful sequels (both last seen in August 2007) so don't expect anything on those. Remember that scene where Malcolm's daughter does a gymnastics trick to take out one of the velociraptors? Yeah...so bad. Not surprisingly, Jurassic World is heaps better than the sequels...not that that's hard to do! It would have to be a terrible, crappy movie to be worse than those films! However, nothing can top the magic that is the original. And this movie knows it and pays homage to it.

Let me first start off by saying I really enjoyed this movie and had a lot of fun watching it. I did jump several times, said "Oh, shit" aloud a couple times (even though there was a toddler sitting in front of my friend and me...yes a toddler...I don't think she was paying attention or could hear me since the movie was so loud), and even did the put-my-hands-to-my-face-in-shock-and-horror move once (which I also did a lot when I watched Breaking Bad!) It definitely got a reaction out of me. So before I go into spoiler territory, I highly recommend it and think everyone should go and watch it, especially if they were a fan of the original, because they have lots of hidden (well, not so hidden as they're overtly out in the open!) gems throughout.

Spoilers ahoy! Don't read any further if you don't want any surprises! And if you're going to continue to read, go ahead and play the Jurassic Park theme song...I know you have it on your iTunes!



Okay, so it's been 22 years since the events of the first park happened (and 22 years since Jurassic Park played in theaters, coincidentally!) and even though that didn't go so well, the new and improved Jurassic World has been operating for ten (? - I didn't quite catch how many) years without a hitch. You will also have to keep in mind that the movie is smart to pretend the two sequels never happened, so there was never a T-Rex running around in San Francisco or wherever the hell it got lose in the second movie (*faceplam*). They treat the events of the first park as a 9/11-type event. One of the operators wears a vintage Jurassic Park t-shirt and is admonished by his supervisor because wearing it is in poor taste of what happened 22 years ago. Shouldn't they at least be happy that all the main characters survived that horrific event?

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire, the operating manager of the park. I have to tell you a (somewhat) funny story. When I first saw the trailer, I just assumed the redheaded woman was Jessica Chastain and I was listening to a podcast about upcoming summer movies and this one was naturally brought up and one of the hosts said it starred Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard and the other one says, "Wait, that's not Jessica Chastain?" which made them both laugh. I was just as surprised as he was because that's who I thought it was all along until I heard that! Anyway, so Claire is very business-like and buttoned up and takes her job seriously and is always looking for ways to keep the park ratings up and get money from sponsors for new and exciting exhibits. This includes introducing a new species of dinosaur that they genetically created called the Indominus Rex, which will be the film's Big Bad. It is the size of a T-Rex (but with longer arms!) with the smarts of a raptor. It has also been genetically given other useful traits from other reptiles and amphibians which helps it be as evil as it wants. Claire mentions that they want to give a new and exciting dinosaur to the public and that viewing the same dinosaurs has the same effect as viewing an elephant at a zoo and that's why they need something new to entice their audience.

Okay, movie. Time out. TIME OUT! WTF? No, just no. That is the sorriest excuse I've ever heard. Yes, the park has been opened for at least ten years, but there's only one place in the world you can go to see real-life dinosaurs: a little island off the coast of Costa Rica called Isla Nublar.  You know the entrance fee's got to be steep, plus you gotta pay for airfare and a place to stay. Most people will probably not have the opportunity to go to this magnificent park, so maybe it's just the same rich people and their families going every year and that's why their spoiled and whiny kids are getting so bored looking at a triceratops or a stegosaurus. "Wah, wah, I'm bored looking at these magnificent animals that have been extinct millions upon millions of years and were only brought back in the span of my lifetime by the wonder of science but I have never known a world without dinosaurs so I don't give a shit and I want to see something new..wah, wah, wah!" That's what it felt like to me, anyway! If John Hammond were still alive, he would never have agreed to such a monstrosity!

Chris Pratt plays Owen, a guy who lives in a shack on the island and works and communicates with the raptors. Now all the raptors from the first movie were killed off, correct? So who thought it would be a good idea to create new raptors? They're only the park's most vicious animal! They didn't make that chirping dinosaur with the clown collar that spit poison into Newman's eyes! (According to Wikipedia, that was a dilophosaurus). So why did they think it was a good idea to give life to more raptors? Okay, yeah, I know a Jurassic Park movie just wouldn't be the same without its raptors! I was a little worried because the previews showed Pratt's character riding his motorcycle among the raptors and another scene had him enclosed with the raptors and it looks like he's in control of them. He appeared to be the Raptor Whisperer and the thought of the raptors becoming pets just made me roll my eyes. While Owen is somewhat of a Raptor Whisperer as he does build a relationship (built on trust) with them, it's not exactly that they're his loyal pets. We find out he is only in the enclosure with them because a new guy who works there has fallen in (and that was the first time I said, "Oh, shit!" aloud - I thought for sure that guy was a goner!) and Owen runs in and has the guy slowly back away as he tries to calm the raptors while telling the other guys not to shoot or otherwise the raptors will never trust him again.

There are four raptors. Their names are Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Blue is the Beta. Do you see a pattern? "Who is the Alpha?" Tim Murphy 2.0 asks Owen. "You're looking at him," Owen replies. If you didn't already know, Owen is a basically a badass. Although I would probably argue that the raptors would disagree with who the alpha is!

Tim 2.0 is Gray (Ty Simpkins) a kid who is visiting Jurassic World with his older brother, Zach (Nick Robinson). Their aunt is Claire, but she is too busy too show them around, so she has her assistant, Zara, chaperone them. They get bored at the dino petting zoo and ditch her. The dino petting zoo was the cutest thing ever! Little kids could ride baby triceratops and baby stegosauruses. One kid hugged a baby brontosaurus and it was just so stickin' cute! They see a water show attraction of the mosasaurus, this aquatic dinosaur that appears to be 100 times bigger than a great white shark as it eats a shark and it looks like a guppy in comparison! You have to wonder how much it costs to feed this thing (not to mention all the other huge animals that are in the park...I am surprised they aren't bankrupt!)

Claire wants Owen to inspect the exhibit for the Indominus Rex to make sure it is safe before they unveil her to the public. It's not exactly safe yet as she has already tried to break the glass! Here is where we get a scene where everybody but the dinosaur acts like morons. Instead of cameras, they use thermal sensors to find the dino, but it is not showing anything anywhere. Owen notices some claw marks on a wall and it appears as though the I-Rex has escaped. Instead of Claire calling the control center to have them pinpoint where the I-Rex is IMMEDIATELY (all the dinos have tracking devices),  she decides to wait until she is in her car and driving back to headquarters and Owen has already gone into the enclosure with the guard (who is overweight and you immediately know he is gonna be dino-chow!) and some other worker (who is also a tasty meal) to assess the wall. Claire is told that the dinosaur is still in its habitat and she screams and tells them to get everyone out of there. Uh...why wasn't this the first thing they did? If they had just checked to make sure where it was before they started opening doors and letting huge-ass dinosaurs out, this would have never happened! Also, I would like to point out that there were construction workers who were making the walls higher so if they noticed that they were all gone due to being eaten, then yes, maybe they should have been concerned, but didn't they think to check on the workers and ask them if they had seen anything suspicious? We later find out the I-Rex has attained a gene where it can hide from thermal sensors AND it can also camouflage itself which is pretty cool.
Little Foot and Cera!

The boys are the last ones to get on the Gyroscope ride before it is ordered to close down due to a "technical difficulty". This ride is the most ridiculous thing ever. Instead of it being on a track, you can just roam around anywhere you please. True, they were only in the "vegetarian" dinosaurs' land, but some of those dinosaurs are HUGE and could easily stomp on that glass ball and some of them have horns and could ram into them. Even though Jimmy Fallon tells them they are very safe, we soon learn they are not when Zach wants them to go off roads into a restricted area. There they come across the I-Rex and there's a scene very similar to the one in the first movie when Lex and Tim are in the Jeep being attacked by the T-Rex.  The boys manage to run away and jump off a cliff into a lake. The I-Rex just sorts of looks down at the water like, "Where did my snacks go?" This dinosaur is freaking 50 feet tall....jumping off a cliff probably wouldn't be a big deal for it, but she just turns and walks away.

Then we come to the part of the movie which I call the Nostalgia Scene. The kids come across the old building of the first movie and we see the banner that reads "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" and the bones of the dinosaur skeleton that the T-Rex knocked down when it was attacking the raptors. We also see the night vision goggles that Tim wore and the '92 Jeep they rode in. It would have been so cool if they had gone into the kitchen...didn't Sam Neil trap a raptor in a freezer? I really need to watch that movie again! And, of course, while they are discovering the remains of the old Jurassic Park, the theme song is playing. It is just awesome and I loved it. I loved my Jurassic Park shoutouts! Speaking of shoutouts, I guess someone is seen reading Ian Malcolm's book, but I didn't catch that. I did, however, see Mr. DNA (that cartoon DNA thread) make a small cameo. I always loved how he pronounced "Dyno-saaaahs!"

The Indominus Rex is four miles from any attraction and has only killed two employees and the entire tac team they send to take it down. So far the civilians (well, except for Gray and Zach) have been out of harm from it. It is only when the I-Rex breaks into the aviary where chaos ensues. Scores of pteranodons and pterodactyls are released and fly to the center square where they start attacking everyone. This makes me wonder how the aviary worked. Was there a net between the animals and the public? This is where Claire and Owen reunite with the boys and Owen and others are shooting down the flying reptiles. This is also the scene where we get the most gruesome death, not just from this movie, but probably from ANY of the Jurassic movies. Remember Zara? Claire's assistant whose only crime was not watching the two boys because she was too busy talking on her phone? She gets a very horrific and gruesome death that is usually reserved for the really bad people in these movies; you know, the ones who really deserve it. But because the bad guy of this movie will be killed by a raptor (and we'll get to that later), they really didn't have anyone else to spare for this death so I guess Zara was the chosen one. She is picked up by a pteranodon (or maybe it was the other one...), then dropped in mid air before she is scooped up by another, then she is dropped into the lagoon, but the two birds fly in to get her and she is tossed around for awhile, before, finally, the mosasaurus eats both her and the pteranodon. It just went on and on! These were nasty birds! They were even trying to pick up a baby triceratops by its saddle which made me very upset! Luckily it was too heavy for it and wasn't carried off!

So the bad guy I mentioned before is played by Vincent D'Onofrio and he likes how Owen can "train" the raptors and think they should weaponize them and have them trained in combat so they can seek out and kill the enemy. It's pretty much the stupidest idea ever. He's a very slimy character and the raptors snarl at him whenever he gets close to their cage and you just know he is going to get killed by one. And he does. Who didn't see that one coming? He puts his arm out to try to calm the raptor like he's seen Owen do before, but the raptor just bites his hand off. Chomp! But before he goes, he wants Owen and a team of his men to follow the raptors to the I-Rex so the raptors can help take it down. But it turns out the I-Rex is part raptor and can communicate with them and Owen is no longer the Alpha! D'Onofrio and his team are all killed within minutes, but Owen, Claire, and the boys manage to escape with the raptors chasing them. One raptor was killed back when they were hunting the I-Rex, but the other three have the four humans cornered, but Owen somehow manages to calm them down and have them be on his side, so when the I-Rex appears again, she is attacked by the raptors, but really, what can they do? They may be smart, quick, and vicious, and very good at killing people, but they are small compared to the I-Rex and their attempts at attacking her are noble, but not working. Claire notices this and goes to the paddock where the T-Rex is and has her let out. Before this, we had only seen a snippet of the T-Rex when the brothers go to view her. Now it is its time to shine! Claire is wearing high heels and waits until the T-Rex is only a half foot behind her before she starts running. Take off your damn shoes so you don't fall and break your ankle! When she reaches the I-Rex, the T-Rex starts attacking it and Claire collapses right behind one of the T-Rex's foot and in front of the tail. Um, why don't you move so you're out of the way? Good Lord! But she and the others manage to escape to safety while they watch the two dinosaurs fight.

By this time there is only one raptor left. I'm assuming it's Blue as she's the one who seems to be Owen's favorite. I remember seeing two other raptors getting killed, but I don't know how the third one died. There's a slow motion scene where Blue runs at and attacks the I-Rex. It's a very heroic scene, but it just cracked me up how it was done. Remember how the T-Rex was the hero in the first movie? Well, in this movie the hero is the mosasaurus because while the T-Rex and I-Rex are fighting right by the lagoon, it leaps up and grabs the I-Rex by the neck and takes it into the water. Damn, how hungry is this giant crocodile? It's already had a great white shark, a pteranodon, a human, and now a huge-ass dinosaur! And all in one day!

Blue and the T-Rex acknowledge each other and go on their merry way. Everyone has been evacuated safely off the island and the boys are greeted by their tearful parents. Claire and Owen have already kissed, but they share a moment. The T-rex climbs to the top of a mountain. RAWWWWWWWRRRRRR!

A very fun and entertaining movie, but lots of little things that didn't quite make sense.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Great Scott!

Back to the Future
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson
Released: July 3, 1985

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound Effects Editing - won
Best Song - "The Power of Love" (lost to "Say You, Say Me" from White Nights)
Best Original Screenplay - Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (lost to a bunch of people who wrote Witness)
Best Sound (lost to Out of Africa)


Back to the Future Part II
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue
Released: November 22, 1989

Oscar nominations:
Best Visual Effects (lost to The Abyss)


Back to the Future Part III
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson
Released: May 25, 1990


Now how could I NOT do a review of the Back to the Future trilogy in 2015? Everybody from my generation has seen these movies. At least, that's what I like to think! Everybody knows exactly what you are talking about if you utter "Marty McFly", "DeLorean" or "Hover Board." I was too young to see the first movie in theaters, but I do remember seeing the second and third ones in the theater with my dad and brother. I can't even imagine how people even coped without this movie being around before 1985! It's just so ingrained in my film history that I can't ever imagine a time when Back to the Future didn't exist! Luckily I wasn't born yet/too young when those years occurred! 

Unless you've lived under a rock, or are a tween or younger, then you know everything there is to know about these movies....at least I would assume so! You know that Michael J. Fox was the first choice for Marty McFly but because of his schedule with Family Ties he couldn't do it, so they got Eric Stoltz and even shot some scenes with him, but they were not happy and eventually persuaded Fox to be in the movie so he pretty much alternated between playing Marty McFly and Alex P. Keaton every day as he was filming both movie and TV show at the same time. You know that Crispin Glover wasn't in the other two movies because he wanted more money. You know that the actress who played Jennifer in the first movie (her name is Claudia Wells; you probably don't know who she is) was replaced by Elisabeth Shue (you probably have heard of her!) in the other movies because Wells quit acting when they made the other two (hence the reason why you probably don't recognize her name). You know you always think of the movie whenever you hear Huey Lewis singing "Power of Love" on the radio. You know that this was one of the first movie to use the "same actor playing two people in a scene at the same time" trick. You know how you were anxiously waiting for it to be 2015 so you could get your hands on a cool Hover board! (Gee, thanks a lot, Back to the Future 2!) You know that there was never intended to be a sequel and that the ending of the first movie was a joke, but since the movie was so popular they did end up making two more movies. You know the meaning of 88 mph. You know that Back to the Future was the biggest movie of 1985, hence the highest-grossing movie of that year. And if you've never seen this movie, then what are you waiting for? 
While I do enjoy all three movies, the first movie is by far the best and most iconic. I have seen it more than its sequels, but I wouldn't be able to tell you how many times I've seen it as I've lost track! However, on my last rewatch, there was something that didn't quite add up. Of course we all know the scene where Marty, his slacker brother, and dowdy sister are sitting around the kitchen table while their mother, Lorraine (a 23-year-old Lea Thompson made up to look like a haggard 47-year-old) tells them the story of how she met their father, George (Crispin Glover) is just exposition because this scene is very important later on when Marty is in the past. Lorraine has told Marty that she doesn't approve of his girlfriend, Jennifer and that when she was his age, she never called a boy or "parked" with a boy and the way she met George was a fluke because her father hit him with a car when he fell out of a tree from "bird watching".

However, when Marty goes back to 1955, we see that his mother was popular and boy crazy as a17-year-old. In the very scene Lorraine was talking about when she and George met, Marty is instead hit by the car his grandfather was driving and is brought into the house where Lorraine is very aggressive towards him. Marty is shocked that his mother is very attractive and nothing at all like he probably imagined her (though I have to wonder, had he never seen photos of her?) Even in the original timeline, this is still the same Lorraine that met and married George. It doesn't make any sense for them to ever get together. The beautiful and popular Lorraine Baines seemed a little too shallow to fall for the quirky and meek loner George McFly. She was not the type of girl who would look twice at him, but attended the Enchantment Under the Sea dance because he looked so helpless after being hit by the car and she felt sorry for him. I can maybe believe that, but them ending up getting married? I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. It makes way more sense for them ending up together when Marty intervenes in the timeline because he helps George build his confidence and because of that, George saves Lorraine from being raped by the scumbag bully, Biff (Thomas F. Wilson).  Lorraine sees him in a different light and they truly fall in love and remain that way as is evident when we return to the altered 1985 after Marty has returned from being in the past.
Despite that little detail, I still love the movie. It cracks me up when Marty is eating dinner with his 17 year old mother and her family and her mother says to him, "Marty, you look so familiar. Do I know your mother?"  and Marty glances at Lorraine and says, "I think so." 

The scene where Marty is at the 1955 diner and asks for a Tab is hilarious only for the fact that the guy didn't know what he was talking about and people watching the movie nowadays wouldn't get the joke unless they're old enough to remember what Tab is. I've heard of it, but I've never had it (not to my knowledge anyway). 

The scene where Marty runs into a young busboy in the '55 diner (who Marty recognizes as the guy who will be mayor of Hill Valley in 1985) reminded me of episodes of "Quantum Leap" where Sam Becket is the one who inspires a young Stephen King to be a horror writer or gives a song idea to a young Buddy Holly (Sidenote: Why haven't they done a reboot of that series yet? It would be the perfect reboot series!) because it is Marty who gives him the idea to become a mayor and he goes, "Yeah, mayor! That's a good idea!"

Was anyone else confused when Marty goes to visit Doc (Christopher Llody) in 1955 (who looks exactly the same age as 1985 Doc, but apparently he's wearing old age make up which I've never noticed before) and he shows Doc the video Doc recorded when they were using the DeLorean in 1985 by connecting the camcorder to the TV. How is this even possible? I'm pretty sure camcorders didn't even exist back then! I guess the only explanation that makes sense is that Doc invented something for that to be possible...who knows? 

The DeLorean, our heroes' time machine, is a very big and important (inanimate!) character in these movies. Okay, so I had no idea (until maybe a few years ago) that DeLorean is actually the name of this make of car. I thought that was just what Doc called the time machine because he though it sounded cool or something. I don't know about you, when I think of "DeLorean" I think of time machine, I don't think of a make of car...unless that car is a time machine. I think it was brilliant for them to use a DeLorean as the time machine because it looks so different and has a futuristic aspect than any other car. It also makes me wonder, did people actually drive these cars back in the '80s? They are the most impractical car I have ever seen. You would only be able to parallel park because if you parked between cars in a parking lot, you wouldn't be able to open the doors!

Back to the Future 2, which came out 4 years later, deals with alternative timelines. And technically, the future part still takes place in the future as it is October 21, 2015 when they go into the future. So I guess there is still time for there to be Hover Boards, automatic-drying jackets, and flying cars! I really dislike the scenes that take place in 2015 and not just because they got everything so, so wrong! (Remember, the '90s hadn't even occurred when they filmed this!) Why does Hollywood think we're going to have flying cars in the future? We already have flying cars! They're called airplanes. Seriously, do you know how dangerous it would be if cars were flying too? It's ridiculous! I love time travel movies, but I hate it when people go in the future...it's so much better and interesting when they go in the past.

By this time Jennifer is played by Elisabeth Shue. They reshot the ending of the first movie with her. If you remember, that ending had Doc taking them to the future and declaring, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!" There is no need at all for Jennifer to even be in the other two movies (remember, there was never supposed to be any sequels, so the ending was just a throwaway gag), but because they already had her in the DeLorean at the end of the first movie, I guess the writers felt cornered and had to have her go since she was already there.

Doc wants Marty and Jennifer to go to the future with him because their son is going to have some trouble with Biff's grandkid and land in jail or something....IDK, but why do you need to go to the future to stop that? Can't you just tell them, "Hey, make sure you keep an eye on your kid on this day in 2015." Wouldn't that be so much easier than going into the future? That just seems like so much more of a hassle! Oh, well, without them going into the future, then old Biff would never be able to take the thinnest book of sport stats from the last 50 years of the 20th century back in the past to become super rich and alternate the timeline. Although, how Biff knew how to use the DeLorean is beyond me. He was never there for the tutorial of having to get up to 88 mph to be able to go to your desired time.

When Marty is reading the newspaper in 2015, there's a little blur that says "Queen Diana visits United States." Uh.....well, how were they supposed to know?

We see the house of Marty and Jennifer (and Michael J. Fox plays their son and daughter) and they sort of got it right because it could definitely be defined as a "smart house". They say things aloud like "Turn on light" or "turn on TV". And while Skype wasn't invented yet (uh, from the 1989 perspective!), they did have Marty talking to someone via a screen.

One thing I thought that was really smart was when Doc gave Marty a briefcase of money for when he went back to 1955 for the second time because that is very important! You can't use money that was minted in the '80s if you're in the '50s! So I was glad to see that scene. He also gave him '50s clothes.

I thought it was hilarious when 2nd 1955 timeline Marty is at the Enchanted Under the Sea dance and sees 1st 1955 timeline Marty on the stage when he's playing the guitar to the Chuck Barry song before it was released (so does that mean Marty gets credit for the song?) and he's enjoying the music and thinks it sounds pretty good and takes a moment to appreciate it.

I love Cafe '80s and I would go to one all the time if they existed!

Just like the first movie, the second ends with a cliffhanger, the only difference being they knew for sure there was going to be a third one. Marty gets a note from Doc saying he has decided to go to the year 1885. And this is where we being the third movie....Marty finds out that Doc is killed by an ancestor of Biff (who else?) named Mad Dog so he takes the DeLorean to 1885 to save Doc. Why he didn't just go the day before Doc
left for 1885 and warn him then is beyond me. That seems like it would have been easier and saved a lot more time, though I know, I know, there wouldn't have been any movie! This movie is okay, but I'm not a fan of Westerns so I can take it or leave it. This time Mary Steenburgen joins the cast as a love interest for Doc. Oh, and speaking of love interests, I should mention that when Marty and Doc returned back to the altered 1985 in the previous movie with an unconscious Jennifer, they left her on her front stoop and we don't see her until the end of this movie. So ridiculous to even have her in the last two movies!

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Thomas F. Wilson are in all three movies. I don't think it was necessary for Thompson to be in the third movie. She plays Marty's great-great-grandmother (Fox, doing double duty again, plays Marty's great-great grandfather). This absolutely makes no sense because WHY WOULD MARTY'S PATERNAL GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER LOOK LIKE HIS MOTHER? THIS IS HIS FATHER'S SIDE OF THE FAMILY! LEA THOMPSON PLAYS A BAINES WHO MARRIED INTO THE MCFLY FAMILY SO WHY THE HELL DOES MARTY'S DAD'S GREAT GRANDMOTHER LOOK LIKE HIS WIFE? WTF, MOVIE? UGH!!!!! This is something I've noticed FOREVER and it always drives me crazy. I know they wanted to give Thompson a role but they sure gave her the wrong one! And really, Marty's great-great grandparents aren't even needed in this movie.

 In the end, Doc is saved from being killed by Mad Dog and he stays in 1885 with his new love and Marty returns to 1985 (and finally his girlfriend!) and the DeLorean has been destroyed. However, Doc has somehow managed to find everything he needs to build another time machine (this time a steam engine) in 1885 and come visit Marty and Jennifer with his new family.

So it's been 30 years since the release of the original movie and I, as I'm sure many other people, have mused, What if they did a reboot of the movie where a 17 year old in 2015 goes back to 1985 where he runs into his teenage parents? What would that be like? I don't think it would work quite as well. There is WAY more of a cultural shock for an' 80s kid to go back to the '50s than for a, uh, wait, what do we even call this decade? Obviously there would be plenty of jokes about the differences in technology and fashion between 2015 and 1985, but I really don't think the cultural shock would be that different. Everyone in the '50s just seemed so innocent and had a "Gosh-Golly-Gee!" attitude (okay, to be fair, I wasn't around in the '50s, but this is just my opinion of how it's been portrayed by Hollywood!) while I feel like teens today and in the '80s have more of an edge to them and are more cool. That being said, would I watch a reboot of Back to the Future? Of course I would! Would I bitch about it? Of course I would! Why? Because nothing will ever top the original, not even its two sequels. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Drummer Boy

Whiplash
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist
Released: October 10, 2014

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to Birdman)
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Damien Chazelle (lost to Graham Moore for The Imitation Game)
Best Film Editing (won)
Best Sound Mixing (won)




Think of the music teacher in Mr. Holland's Opus (whose name was Mr. Holland, coincidently!) and just take the complete antithesis of him and you have Terrance Fletcher, the music teacher in Whiplash. Played by J.K. Simmons (who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year), Fletcher is the intense conductor of a jazz band at the competitive music school, Shaffer Conservatory, where nineteen-year-old Andrew (Miles Teller) is a first-year student. Fletcher sees Andrew drumming one night for practice and invites him to his class the next morning. Andrew knows who Terrance Fletcher is and is very excited and honored at the prospect of getting to work with him, although when he first sits in during his class, I'm sure he has a change of tune...pun intended! While observing the class, Andrew quickly realizes Fletcher is a huge jerk. Someone's instrument was out of tune and he told them that this person better speak up so they can stop wasting everyone's time, but nobody says anything. He starts attacking this overweight, timid student and makes snarky comments about his weight and asks him if his instrument is out of tune to which the student says yes and Fletcher makes him leave the class. Just as I suspected, that student did not have the out of tune instrument but Fletcher said it makes it worse that he didn't even know.

He is brutal to Andrew when it's his turn to show Fletcher what he's got. He is either too slow or too fast for Fletcher's liking and never seems to get the exact beat he is looking for. I gained a lot of respect for drummers after watching this movie - apparently, it's a lot more difficult than I thought! I thought Andrew was doing a good job, but since Fletcher picks up a chair and throws it at him, I guess not! I did laugh when he asks Andrew, "Do you know why I just threw a chair at you?" Sheesh, somebody needs to watch Mr. Holland's Opus to learn how to be a music teacher! But let's be honest, this movie was way more entertaining than that one!

Andrew eventually gets the rhythm right and he is invited to join in at a local jazz competition, but only as an alternate in case the other drummer can't do it which is what happens when Andrew loses the sheet music (Fletcher gets mad at the other boy who gave it to Andrew as it was his responsibility to make sure nothing happened to it) and has to play since the other boy doesn't know the music by heart and Andrew informs Fletcher that he has Whiplash, the name of the piece, memorized and can fill in. Even though Andrew saved the day and even though their jazz band won first prize, Andrew does not become the core drummer like he thought he would and instead Fletcher invites the redheaded kid from Andrew's entry-level class (who I thought was one of the Scavo twins from Desperate Housewives, but he's not) to try out and he is given the spot of core drummer. Andrew is outraged by this and Fletcher agrees to let him be the core drummer at the next competition after both boys have auditioned for hours well into the early hours of the morning. However, on the day of the competition, his bus braking down and Andrew having to rent a car. He forgets his drum sticks at the rent a car place and is rushing to get back to the auditorium because he only has a few minutes left and his car is hit by a truck and flips over! Who didn't see that coming? Even though he should have been dead, or at the very least, critically injured, he runs across the lawn with blood pouring down his head and makes it with seconds to spare. Needless to say, the performance does not go well and he is suspended from the class.

To be able to concentrate more on becoming the best drummer of his generation, he breaks up with his girlfriend, Nicole (played by Melissa Benoist who played Marley on Glee) who he had recently met and asked out. Needless to say Nicole is pretty angry about this and even though when Andrew realizes he may have made a huge mistake and later invites her to attend one of his shows, she says she might be busy with her boyfriend. Ooh, burn. But good for her for moving on. Andrew was a total jerk to her.

The movie ends with Fletcher trying to get back at Andrew and humiliate him in a crowd of people when he is fired from his job after a student has made a report on what an abusive and horrible teacher Fletcher was, but it turns out Andrew gains his respect with a drum solo that goes on forever. I mean, it was really REALY impressive, but if I had been in that audience, I would have been like, damn, is this kid ever going to stop drumming? Great movie; I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cougar Town

How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Cast: Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King
Released: August 14, 1998



I had not read the novel by Terry McMillan or seen the movie until now, but I was pretty sure I knew how the plot went: Stella is a forty year old woman who's had a bit of a bump in her life. Perhaps she's just lost her job, perhaps she's just gotten divorced....I don't know, just something where she needs to get her groove back! So she goes to Jamaica for a little pick-me-up where she meets a younger guy (not any younger than 26 though!), has a fling with him and comes back home as a more confident woman and meets a businessman her age and they fall in love and get married. We-ell, that's not exactly what happened! 

Stella (Angela Bassett) is a 40-year-old successful stockbroker in San Francisco raising a ten-year-old son. Her ex-husband is Chief Weber from Grey's Anatomy (James Pickens Jr.) and her sister has set her up on a date with a perfectly fine and respectable judge (played by Carl Lumbly who you probably know as Dixon from Alias). Speaking of Alias, Victor Garber (Spy Daddy!) plays her boss. You know, Angela Bassett had a recurring guest role on the last season of Alias. Do you think Victor Garber told J.J. Abrams, "Hey, you know who you should get for this role? Angela Bassett. We've been really good friends since our days on the Stella set." Probably not, they probably got her because she's a big name. And I'm pretty sure Abrams had all his attention on Lost by this point. Anyway, I'm getting completely off topic as you can see I didn't care for this movie!

Stella has two sisters: Vanessa (Regina King) and Angela (Suzanne Douglas, who I wasn't familiar with). That had to be confusing on the set with an actress named Angela and a character named Angela!

Angela's best friend, Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) lives in New York and after Angela calls her spur of the moment after seeing a tourism commercial for Jamaica and suggests they go there, she agrees to the idea. The two friends meet up on the island for two weeks of fun and relaxing. Before Stella has even checked in, Dee has already met two obnoxious ex-football players who have really let themselves go. If I went on vacation with a friend and she met two unappealing guys and wanted us to hook up with them....ewww! I would be so mad! And, of course, Stella is not thrilled with this. Her "man" is especially unappealing when he whips off his shirt...and pants and all he is wearing is a speedo. Dear God, nobody needed to see that!

Even though Stella is (the ancient age of!) 40, girlfriend looks hot. She works out and she is buff and toned. She catches the eye of a younger man when they're eating breakfast outside the hotel one morning. He sits next to her and they start chatting. He is Winston Shakespeare (stupidest fake name ever!) and he is 20 years old. He was literally only a teenager one year prior. I  knew this was about an "older" woman having an affair with a younger man, but I had no idea he was only 20! I thought he was no younger than 25 or 26. Taye Diggs was 26 or 27 when he made the movie, so he's not as young as his character. Obviously, being a model, he's a very good looking guy. Did you know he's 44? I think he looks better now than he did back then. Of course, I can't take him seriously in this movie because he wears all these bright red and yellow boardshorts and t-shirts and has a ridiculous Jamaican accent and this was his first major role and he's acting opposite Angela Bassett. He serves his role well as the man candy, but he's definitely gotten better with the acting as he's aged.

Stella tells him several times she's old enough to be his mother after he invites her to a dance party (which was the weirdest party ever as everybody took off their tops so all the ladies were dancing with their breasts hanging out...it was like some freaky orgy!) Once she gets over the weirdness of the age difference, they start having a fling...which is what I thought it was just going to be, but no. Not exactly. They start having a relationship. She flies back to Jamaica with her son and niece (I'm not sure why her niece came with them...I'm not even sure which sister her niece belonged to!) so Winston can meet her son. There's a really awkward scene where Winston "surprises" (more like pisses her off!) Stella when he takes her to his parents' house for lunch. His mother is only a year older than her. Awkward!

When Dee dies from cancer (and that just seemed like a total after thought that they randomly threw in there because they thought the movie needed something sad...I'm guessing this plot line is a lot more flushed out in the novel!), Winston flies to  the U.S. to be with Stella and attend the funeral. He ends up moving there and moves in with Stella.

Okay, I'm sorry, but there is no way in hell any self-respecting, successful and attractive woman like Stella would have a relationship with a freaking TWENTY year old. He may not be a baby like Stella informs Winston's mom, but it's still pretty damn young. I don't care how good-looking the guy is. There's a scene where Stella loses her job because of....something....and I know they just did put that in the script because they didn't want anyone thinking Winston was after Stella for a Sugar Mama...because that's what I was thinking! But Stella begins to find out pretty soon they barely have anything in common. Duh, you think? They go to the movies and see a juvenile comedy and run into her sister and brother-in-law and another couple which includes the good-looking (and age appropriate!) judge Stella could have been set up with who had just come from seeing a more serious movie. Stella and Winston get into a fight after he wants to pay for dinner and says that she always does and he wants to contribute to and she goes, "Well, why don't you help with the mortgage?" Ooh, snap! Then she bitches that he never does anything when she asks him to do it and I'm thinking, OMG, it's like you're talking to your child! So they bitch and fight for a few days, then have hot shower sex and then Winston tells her he's moving back to Jamaica because he wants to go to school to be a doctor, but she beats him to the airport and tells him he should go to Berkeley and then he proposes and....omg, it is so bad! There's no way in hell that relationship is going to last!

And can we just address one last thing? Stella never needed to get her groove back in the first place! She was already pretty badass. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

This movie is bulls***!

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Director: Donald Petrie
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Bebe Neuwirth, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Michele
Released: February 7, 2003
Viewed in theaters: April 20, 2003


Remember back in the early 2000s when Matthew McConaughey was in all these awful romcoms like The Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch, and Sahara? (Well, Sahara was more of an adventure romance). This movie is no exception to that list. It is just terrible! 

Kate Hudson plays Andie Anderson and McConaughey places Benjamin Barry (the screenwriter sure likes alliteration...but so do I!) Andie lives in New York and is a writer for a fictitious Cosmo-like magazine called Composure. Andie's column is a "How to" column: "How To Talk Your Way Out of a Traffic Ticket", "How To Make Your Butt Look Good", etc. She would much rather write about things that are more important like politics, economics, and religion! She has no time writing about make up tips and clothes and dating advice even though she goes out with her friends to gossip about her dating life and has an array of great designer clothes, bags, and shoes. Gimme a break, this girl couldn't give a crap about religion, economics, and politics! Her boss (Bebe Neuwirth) tells her perhaps she can choose what topic she wants to write about when she delivers a stellar piece.

She gets the idea for the "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" column when her friend and fellow co-worker, Michelle (Kathryn Hahn), gets dumped by her boyfriend of one week. She doesn't understand because everything was going so well and even cried with emotion the first time they had sex. Andie is going to find some poor schmuck to date and drive him away with all the cliche mistakes women make to drive men away (being too clingy and needy, calling all the time, talking in a baby voice, making him do things he doesn't want to do) as she writes her article. Now I'm thinking, What women is going to see the headline "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and think, Oh, I need to read that because I want to get rid of the guy I'm dating! If you really want to get rid of a guy you were dating, you don't need to read a damn article on how to do it! It's not that hard! And Andie Anderson is at amateur hour here...please, ten days? Give me one day! Hell, give me two hours! Ten days is the given number because her boss wanted to give her a week to establish a relationship and the next issue was going to press in eleven days. Maybe if the article was called "How to Keep a Guy for More Than 10 Days", then I could see it being beneficial. 

Ben is an advertising executive who wants to pitch an ad for a diamond company. His co-worker, Judy (Michael Michele) is also trying to get a deal with the same company and thinks she will be a better fit for the gem that symbolizes love because Ben's relationships never tend to go on beyond a couple months. Ben says he can make any woman fall in love with him (because he has a charming Southern accents and looks like Matthew McConaughey) and Judy tells him if he can do that, then she'll back out of pitching her idea and let him have it. She tells him she'll pick out the woman for him to charm. Well, wouldn't you know, Judy had been at the Composure offices earlier that day and knows about the article Andie is writing and Andie is with her friends at the same bar trying to find a guy she can date and drive away. 

After they introduce themselves, Ben takes Andie out for dinner on his motorcycle and then back to his place. Um, there is no way in hell I would go on a motorcycle with some guy I just met, I don't care if he looks like Matthew McConaughey! I would probably end up dead as I don't know what kind of driver he is! Maybe Andie should write an article called "How To Not Go On a First Date"....which is the most awkward sounding title ever! They just seemed to move really fast, but I guess they both only have ten days to push the other person away/make the other person fall in love with them.

Now if Ben didn't have his own bet going, he might have stuck with Andie for a few days because she's an attractive blonde and he might have overlooked her being annoying at a basketball game when she asked him to get her a drink at the last minute of the game (and I was amazed that he didn't spill a drop of it when he sprinted back to her because that thing was FULL!) and then makes him go back because he didn't get Diet, but by the time she starts in with the baby talk and interrupting his nights where he plays poker with the guys he would have gotten rid of her. Even if those didn't deter him, he definitely would have sent her packing after she shows him a scrapbook she created with photos of their children - she had pasted photos of their faces onto the bodies of children. It was sooo creepy! Anyone in their right mind would have gotten the hell out of that relationship! Not to mention the fact that she was calling his mother and chatting with her without his knowledge!

Naturally, Ben is getting fed up with Andie's behavior and does end it, but just when Andie thinks she's done her job, he suggests they try couples counseling. Andie gets Michelle to pretend to be their therapist and she suggests they visit Ben's family in Staten Island for the weekend. Why this will bring them closer together, I have no idea, but it does and do you know what happens that nobody could have possibly predicted in a thousand years? (Yes, that was sarcasm!) They fall in love! Imagine that! We know this because Chantal Kreviazuk was crooning "Feels Like Home" as Andie and Ben made love for the first time in the shower of his parents' home bathroom. Yes, you read that right. 

Andie tells her boss that she can't write the article but her boss tells her she has to because the cover has already been printed and has the article title on it. There's no going back now! She and Ben both attend  an event that is being held by the diamond company Ben is trying to get a deal with. They have all their diamonds on display and women are allowed to go up and try anything on and wear it for the rest of the night. They do have security guards everywhere, but I find it hard to believe any random person could just go up and wear these diamonds that cost thousands of dollars. Andie finds out that Ben was only dating her to use her for a deal and Ben finds out that she was only dating him for an article. In the most amusing scene of the movie, they both sing "You're So Vain" - neither of them can sing it correctly and are both horribly off-key.

Andie writes a very heartwarming article about how she fell for the guy she was planning to lose in ten days and quits her job to head to Washington to look for something with more substance, but Ben, after reading the article, stops her and confesses his love for her and she stays in New York to be with him. Such a terrible, piece of crap movie!

Oh, and they play the cardgame, bulls*** in the movie so that's where I got my title for this review! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

'Wild' at Heart

Wild
Director: Jean-Marc Valle
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin
Released: December 19, 2014

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon (lost to Julianne Moore for Still Alice)
Best Supporting Actress - Laura Dern (lost to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood)


I really liked this movie, but I am a sucker for survival stories, although this is more about self-discovery, but there are definitely some survival aspects as it's about a woman (Reese Witherspoon) hiking the PCT on her own. I just assumed PCT stood for Pacific Coast Trail and I was right about the "Pacific" and Trail" part, but I did some research and found out it stand for the Pacific Crest Trail. Here are some interesting facts about the PCT which I gathered from the oh-so-factual site, Wikipedia: It's 2,663 miles long (she hiked over 1,000 miles) and obviously runs through California, Oregon, and Washington. It was classified as a  National Scenic Trail in 1968, but wasn't complete until 1993.

The movie is based on a memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed who is portrayed by Witherspoon, who bought the rights to the movie even before the book was published in 2012 (she also bought the rights to Gone Girl so she's a savvy and smart businesswoman - Elle Woods would be proud!) She walked the trail back in 1995, so only two years after it was officially completed. She wanted to walk the trail because she needed to sort things out for herself. Her mother (Laura Dern) had died only a couple years back from lung cancer and Cheryl, who had married at a very young age, started spiraling out of control as she started using heroin and sleeping with other men to make herself "feel better" and forget her pain. Cheryl was 26 when she hiked the PCT in 1995 and Reese just turned 39 in March so the movie took a little bit of liberty with that, but Reese looks youthful enough she can pull off playing a mid 20 year old. Of course they never mention what her age is in the movie! (Sidebar: did you know that Reese's first name is actually Laura? Reese is a middle name. I learned that from a trivia podcast I listen to called Good Job, Brain). 

The film begins in the middle of her hike as a little teaser and has what has to be the most cringe worthy scene of the entire movie: Cheryl has been walking for awhile and when she peels off her hiking boots and socks, one of her big toenails is all bloody and has partially come off. Lord, it's giving me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it! She's sitting up high and just rips off the sucker. I tried to remind myself this was just a movie and it was a fake toenail, but eesh! It reminded me of the scene in Castaway when Tom Hanks has to hit a rock at his mouth to knock out a bad tooth. The pain is so unbearable that she looses her balance and as she does so, one of her boots goes down the mountain (or maybe it was a hill? I'm not good with geological terms!) The point is, that boot is long gone as there's no way she can go down and get it and she throws her other boot down the mountain too! She still had something to wear on her feet as she had sandals, but still! Well, we later find out, when watching the movie in chronological order, that her boots were a size too small for her and she would be getting a new pair at the next pit stop she stopped at. (I don't know if they're actually called "pit stops", I have Amazing Race terminology in my head!) At these places, she receives care packages  and letters with money from her ex-husband (Thomas Sadoski) and can stock up on water and food and get a good meal and meet up and converse with other hikers.

She meets many people who along her journey, some who are also hiking the PCT and some who are not. On her first week of hiking, she doesn't have the right equipment to use her cooking equipment and thus has to eat cold mush. She asks a farmer if he can drop her off at a motel so she can get a shower and some food and he tells her he can't because he has to finish plowing the fields, but she can wait in his truck and he'll take her. As she's waiting, she finds a gun in his car, but that wasn't what made him scary. Not even inviting (well, more demanding the way he said it) to his house so she can eat and take a shower was scary (but would make any young woman uneasy), but when he asked what kind of woman she was, I was thinking, this guy is going to rape her! Which is what the movie probably wanted us to think and even Cheryl is clearly uncomfortable and lies about her husband being up ahead and that they just got separated. But we find out the man is harmless and brings her back to his house where his wife has cooked a homemade meal and drives her to the store the next day so she can buy the right equipment.

However, she does meet two shady guys who are hunting later on in her journey. They don't hide the fact at all that they would rape her if given the opportunity and make really gross comments about her body...one of them even spies on her when she's changing, eww! So she hightails it out of there.

Most of the people she meets are hikers, including another woman who she's relieved to meet because there are mostly men who are hiking. She meets one hiker (Kevin Rankin) and I get the feeling that she wanted to hook up with him. She did pack condoms! She finds out later that he quit hiking because he didn't want to deal with the snow that is part of the Sierras crossing. She also has to deal with extreme heat and dehydration, hopping across huge boulders, crossing rapids (which she falls into, so that couldn't be fun being wet for the rest of that day) and rainstorms. Luckily, she doesn't ever come across any bears, but she does come across a rattlesnake and as she was looking at it and walking backwards, I was so afraid she was going to accidently step on another one! Her first night of camping, she is really scared because she keeps hearing a noise and we the viewers see it's just a rabbit eating. One night she feels something in her sleeping bag (OMG Ewwww!) and rightfully freaks out and jumps out of her tent and turns her sleeping bag inside out. It was some kind of harmless (but big and hairy!) caterpillar. This was the same day she saw the rattlesnake, so she was still a bit shaken up (no pun intended!)

Towards the end of her trip when she was either just about to leave Oregon or had just entered into Washington, she comes across a old woman and her young grandson who had lost their llama and Cheryl had found it for them. The little boy was so cute and asked Cheryl about her mommy who told him she died because she was sick and the boy tells her his mommy is a music teacher and asks her if she wants to hear him sing a song and she says yes and he sings her a song which had both Cheryl and me weeping our little eyes out! The song was called "Red River Valley". Adorable little kids who sing inspirational songs in their sweet angelic little voices just make my tear ducts go into overdrive, but honestly, it doesn't take much to make me cry!

I would love to know how much her gear weighed because that looked very heavy. The first day of her hike when she's in her motel room getting ready, she has a hell of a time trying to get it on her back. Most of the weight looked like it came from her huge jug of water!  At one of the pit stops, a man gives her advice and tells her she should only pack what she needs and get rid of the extra weight. She does get rid of a few things she never uses (like a saw) or doesn't really matter that much (deodorant), but it didn't look like she lost any weight off her pack!

Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of happier times of her with her mom and her then husband and we also see what her and her brother go through when their mom gets diagnosed with lung cancer and the moment she starts to fall apart. By this time, the only person she has as a support system is her best friend (Gaby Hoffman) but she thinks Cheryl is going too far and is angry at her. Cheryl took this journey as a way to prove she's strong and find herself again. I have to admire what she did; not everyone can do what she did. I know I couldn't; I would be way too scared to go on an adventure like that on my own. Even if I were with a group of people, I still would be hesitant what with all the wildlife, crazy weather, and strenuous obstacles you would have to climb around. Now if I didn't have to worry about any of that and had a good meal and a hot shower and a good night's sleep at the end of every day, I would totally do it! Easy peasy! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I didn't love this Lucy!

Lucy
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked
Released: July 25, 2014


Congratulations, The Other Woman, you have some competition for being the worse movie of 2014!  What the f*** did I just watch? Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a naive girl who's living abroad in Taipei who gets herself into a bad situation after she's gone out with some dude a couple times and he tricks her into being a drug mule by locking a briefcase to her wrist and wants her to take it inside a hotel. Of course she is terrified and becomes even more freaked out (but probably not all that sorry!) when the guy who tricked her is shot. She is taken to the basement of the hotel by a mob boss and his gang. Fearful that there might be a bomb in the briefcase, they hide behind walls and protective shields as the mob boss orders her to open the case. I forgot how she got the code, but she opens it and reveals four plastic bags of some blue substance.

Lucy becomes their new drug mule and a bag of the drug is put into her abdomen so they can export her and the drug out of the country. She is kicked there by one of her captors and the drug released into her bloodstream and goes to her brain. Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman plays a professor who specializes in the brain and teaches a class about how humans only use ten percent of their brain, which, I'm sorry, is a load of crock. He claims that if we used more of our brain, who knows what we could do! Someone asks what would happen if somebody used 100% of the brain and he replies, "I have no idea!"

Whenever Lucy starts to use more of her brain, we see a black screen with the percentage written in a bold font: 15%, 30%, 50%, 75%, 90%, etc. Apparently, the more you use your brain, the more superhuman abilities you obtain. Lucy had the power to build invisible walls (just like Jean Grey!) and move things with her mind (just like Jean Grey!) and other absolutely ridiculous things that nobody could ever do in any lifetime; I don't care how much of their brain they are using! At the very end when she is using 100% of her brain and is trying to defeat the bad guys, she turns into a freaking computer...or she makes one with the atoms in the room...I have no idea...it just got insanely ridiculous and I just didn't care anymore. And see the picture I posed above? That was when Lucy was in a car and uses the windshield as a computer because she can beam these lights onto it with her hands...I know, I don't get it either. Maybe it I could use ALL of my brain I would understand!

I should mention that I missed a good half hour right in the middle of the movie because I got a crappy disc that was all scratched. Don't you love it when that happens. When that happens, I just go back and get another disc, but with this movie, I really didn't care. It started to get messed up when she's in the hospital and calls her mother, telling her she can feel every vibration of the earth's rotation. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear her mom's reply of, "Sweetie, what are you on?" (That had to be her mom's reply right? And technically, she WAS on something!)

I think Luc Besson wanted to make his version of The Tree of Life because there are a lot of quick cuts to nature shots which reminded me a lot of Tree of Life (there was even a dinosaur this movie!) At the beginning, when the mob boss and his crew are heading towards her, there are quick cuts to a lion killing his prey and when we see Lucy looked terrified, there's a quick cut to an antelope running from its captor! The dude who went out a couple times with Lucy tells her that the first woman was named Lucy. If you've ever taken any anthropology or archeology 101 class in college, you would know he was referring to a skeleton that scientists named Lucy after the song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (so it wasn't like she was named that when she was alive...what an idiot!) and hers are the most complete homosapien bones archeologists have found. But I'm not an archeology expert, so don't quote me on that. When he tells her that, they (of course) cut to a shot of a replica of what Lucy looked like when she lived nearly three million years (I can't believe that moron thought the name "Lucy" existed that many years ago!) I saw the bones of Lucy when I was at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (coolest museum ever!) Or at least, I thought that's what they were when I was looking at them, but it turned out the real bones were in Ethiopia (that's where the bones were found) and what I was looking at were just replicas for exhibits. I felt so deceived! Look at that, you got a little history/archaeology  lesson there!

Monday, April 27, 2015

I have Kitty Pryde!

X-Men
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Shawn Ashmore
Released: July 14, 2000


X2: X-Men United
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Same people plus Brian Cox and Alan Cumming
Released: May 2, 2003
Viewed in theaters: May 26, 2003


X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Same people plus Ellen Page and Kelsey Grammar
Released: May 26, 2006



My knowledge of comic book lore hovers  around "none" and "barely any" so please forgive me if it seems like I may not know what I'm talking about, because, chances are, I don't! After all, I thought Thor was created for Adventure in Baby-Sitting and didn't realize he was actually from a real comic until a few months before the movie was released in 2011. I'm not kidding; that's a true story.

When I saw first saw these movies, I enjoyed them for the most part, but after re-watching them recently, they didn't hold up that well, but honestly I think that's because they suck in comparison to First Class and Days of Future Past, the films' prequels. Wait, are those prequels or reboots? See, I really have no idea!

The X-Men are called mutants and they all have some kind of power. There are differing levels of powers as some are pretty impressive and others, not so much. There was one young boy in the second movie who could change the channel on the TV by blinking his eyes. Ooh, big deal! Sure, I suppose it would be convenient if you've lost your remote and perhaps there's more to his power, but they didn't show it. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) runs a school for young mutants (and there are other grown up mutants who teach classes...it's just like Hogwarts!) and he must be a bit of an ego maniac because the X-Men are obviously named after him and he has X's on his wheelchair's, uh, wheels and there's a big X on the vault that leads to Cerebro which is this huge room with a bottomless pit where he can track any mutant at any time...IDK....just go with me! But he seems like a pretty humble and down to earth guy for having a bunch of his initials everywhere. Besides being able to find any mutant, he can also read and control minds.

The first movie focuses mostly on Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin). Rogue is from Mississippi and has run away to Alaska because whenever she touches people she ends up hurting them. She hitchhikes a ride from Logan. They are ambushed by bad mutants, but are saved by Xavier's crew of Storm (Halle Berry) and Scott aka Cyclops (James Marsden). They bring them back to the school where Jean Grey (Famke Jannssen) does a medical exam on Logan. Apparently he doesn't age so he may be even older than Xavier! She even says this to Xavier's face and I'm thinking, Wow, that's really rude to imply your boss is really old! Besides having retractable claws, Wolverine's power is that he can heal. Rogue's other power besides being unable to have sex is that she absorbs other mutants' powers. For instance, she sees Logan is having a nightmare and goes over to wake him. Um, if someone has five inch long sharp nails, DON'T startle them! Because this is exactly what happens and Wolverine drives his claws into her stomach, but after she touches him, she absorbs his powers and heals herself.

Storm's power is that she can manipulate the weather, which, I won't lie, I wouldn't mind having that power! If I did, everyday would be a nice and balmy 72 degrees and it would only snow at Christmas and maybe a nice thunderstorm every now and then. In the first movie, a pre-Oscar winner Halle Berry barely has any lines or scenes. But perhaps this is a good thing because she has the weirdest accent...I heard it was suppose to be South African? And she has possibly what is being touted as the worst line in cinematic history: "You know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lighting?" (Strikes a bad  mutant with toad-like qualities with lightning and he get electrocuted). "The same thing as everything else." So. Stupid! By the second movie she has miraculously (and thankfully!) lost her accent (and Berry is by then an Oscar winner) and gets to fly the cool jet and by the third movie she is rocking a cute shag cut and is doing twirls in the air to simulate tornados and has a lot more scenes thanks to other people getting killed off!

Scott and Jean are a couple and they are so boring together. Scott's power is that he has laser eyes. He has to wear these tacky sunglasses that make him stand out in public (but I suppose there are mutants who are worse off in the ways they stand out!) otherwise his laser eyes will destroy anything in front of him. Like Professor X, Jean can read minds, but her true powers and what she is really capable of is not revealed until the third movie. She can also move objects with her mind. Logan has the hots for her but she tells him, "I love Scott and his dorky eyewear!" Did nobody tell her that Wolverine is the star of these movies and Cyclops barely has anything to do in any of the movies?

Professor X's archenemies is Magneto aka Gandalf (just kidding! He's played by Ian McKellen). Magneto can control stuff made out of metal which comes in quite handy for him. He has other mutants working for him, including the "toad" that Storm fries, but his second in command is Mystique (played by a very brave Rebecca Romijn who wears body paint...but she has the physique to pull it off! (Heh, Mystique has the physique!)) While most mutants are lucky enough to blend in with other normal human beings, Mystique sticks out quite a bit because she has bright red hair and blue skin and doesn't wear clothes. However, she has what I consider has to be the most impressive ability: she is a shapeshifter so she can transfer into anybody and mimic their voice and attributes. This come in very handy for a villain who is trying to fool the good guys...and they do get fooled. There is a scene in the first movie where she is fighting Wolverine....as Wolverine. I don't know about you, but if I were an X-(wo)man, I would want to be Mystique. I wouldn't be crazy about the blue skin, but who cares if you can look like anybody. I would disguise myself as Julia Roberts and go shopping on Rodeo Drive and get free champagne and clothes! Mystique only disguises herself as other people (mostly men) when she's trying to fool her adversaries. There's a scene in the second movie where Romijn looks like herself when Mystique is seducing a man to get something.

In the first movie, Rogue runs away when Bobby, the boy she has a crush on (Shawn Ashmore) tells her that nobody likes her because she just makes things worse and it would be best if she just left. Of course, it wasn't really Bobby who told her this, but Mystique disguised as Bobby. So she runs away and Magneto kidnaps her and Wolverine and the others have to save her. They also have to deal with a senator who wants to enable an act where a mutant would have to reveal their abilities and the fact that they are mutants. I would not want to live in a world with mutants! You could have somebody breaking into your place just by walking through your walls or somebody could mind control you or Mystique could try to pretend to be someone you know to mess with you.

The cold never bothered him
anyway! 
The second movie is two and a half hours and believe me, it feels that long. It just seemed to drag on forever...and I found that there was more action in the first and third movies. A subplot of this movie focuses on Rogue's and Bobby's relationship...except they can't kiss or anything of the physical nature because she'll hurt him. Bobby is like a male Elsa: everything he touches turns to ice. But he can't create massive ice castles and snowmen that come to life, so fail, Bobby! His alias is Iceman, how fitting. He has a friend, Pyro who can create fire, but seeing as fire and ice are not compatible, they have a falling out and Pyro goes to join Magneto's team. The second movie is called X-Men United because Professor X and the "good" mutants must unite with Magneto and the not-so-ethical mutants to join forces so they can stop a scientists  (Brian Cox) who hates all mutants (and has a son who is one) and wants to destroy all of them.

There's a scene where a cat startles Wolverine and when the cat meowed, my cat was looking at the screen in confusion. There's a lot of dicing and slicing in this movie with Wolverine taking out the claws (literally!) Alan Cumming  (Eli Gold!) plays Nightcrawler, a mutant who is manipulated into killing the POTUS, but doesn't. He can teleport anywhere which is very helpful when he and the other X-Men are in a jet but when it is shot down and crashing to the ground (before Magneto stops it by holding it up), Rogue, who doesn't have her seatbelt on, flies out of the plane when the back half rips open and Nightcrawler is able to teleport to her and bring her back.

The movie ends with Jean Grey sacrificing herself so the others can escape a massive flood (they were near a dam) and builds a wall to shield the water from them. Everyone is really sad she's dead especially Scott and Logan because they both loved her.

But wait! She isn't dead! As we will find out in the third movie! Scott asks her how this happens to which she replies, "I don't know." Yeah, that's the movie's way of being lazy and they just needed to find a way to bring Jean back but they can't think of a way to explain it! Scott is killed off immediately by Jean's now superstrong powers, mostly because James Marsden had a scheduling conflict. Patrick Stewart must also have had scheduling conflicts because Professor X is killed off by Jean who is now known as the Phoenix and has joined forces with Magneto. Oh, and Rebecca Romijn also must have had other plans because she is only in a few scenes at the beginning. While trying to protect Magneto from being shot with a vaccine that makes mutants into regular humans, she gets it instead and becomes a normal (but pretty hot - so good for her!) woman. Magneto has no more need for her as she is just a civilian. I thought he was going to kill her, but he doesn't.

Magneto wants to stop this vaccine from getting out. Meanwhile, Rogue, who is still a couple with Bobby, but is getting jealous of his friendship with Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), the mutant who can run through walls, decides to get the vaccine so she can have sex with her boyfriend. I understand that this is what she wants and it must be difficult to not be able to touch people at all, but the fact that she's doing this for a boy is so stupid. The vaccine is actually taken from a young mutant who takes away other mutants' powers....he ends up coming back to the mutant school founded by Professor X, so how Storm and the other grown up mutant teachers can teach, I have no idea. I guess they will have to keep Leech (the young boy) locked up in a padded room. But if Rogue and Bobby wanted to get it on, they could just have him sit with his back turned! She didn't need to get rid of her powers. And now that she did, does that mean she can't attend the school anymore?

I was so confused because, from what I could tell, the third movie takes place perhaps only a few months after the second one ended. Kitty Pryde is in the second movie, but she is played by a different actress....one that looks like she is no more than seven or eight years old. In the third movie, she is a teenager. Uh....? I thought it was weird that if she touched people, objects could go through her and through that person. For instance, she and the other students were doing a simulation where they had to fight giant robots and meteors and things like that and she sees a flaming rock hurtling towards Bobby so she grabs him and it goes through her and him. I have no idea how this is possible...why would his body be able to enable the rock to go through it? But maybe since it was a simulation, the rock was just a hallucination? I am so confused! But there's a scene where she and Bobby jump off a roof and they go through the ground because she's holding on to him. So by this logic does that mean if Mystique touches somebody, they also have the ability to transfer into anybody? Kitty Pryde has to use her ability to get to Leech before the big dude that can also walk through walls, but he has to knock them down first before he can walk through them!

Of course we have a duel between Pyro and Iceman, fire v. ice. I'm pretty sure fire always trumps ice, but in this scenario, Iceman defeats Pyro.

There's this scene where Magneto needs to get to Alcatraz because that's where Leech is kept, so instead of summoning a boat, he moves the Golden Gate Bridge. Sure, it's a cool scene, but it just seems like so much work when going over on a boat would be a lot easier!

Oh, and one more thing....does this mean that these movies never happened since they went (back!) to the future in Days of Future Past, but I don't know exactly when in the future the young Charles Xavier went to see his other self (I guess it was before the third movie since he died in that one)....Oh, God, I'm confusing myself now! I need a timeline....someone get me a timeline for these movies, stat! I am so confused!!

I want to know how many fanboys out there have cats named Kitty Pryde!