Archive for May, 2017


She’s a Wonder

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

There is only one movie that everyone is talking about this week.

That movie is Wonder Woman.

Directed by Patty Jenkins, this movie alleges to be everything for women in the film industry. It is to prove whether or not a woman director can make a blockbuster hit featuring a woman in the lead role as a comic book superhero. It is the first comic book hero movie to be directed by a woman that cost $150 million dollars to make.

wonderwoman-movie-kneeling-1000419As of Sunday night, it took in just over $100 million in the Untied States alone.

And you’re wondering if this movie is worth your time, is Gal Gadot not only beautiful but able to act and carry a movie like this?

The answer to your questions are yes and yes.

I am not sure how much time we spent in that theater in those reclining seats. But I can tell you it did not feel like two hours and twenty minutes. In fact, it felt much shorter.

We start in Paris as Diana Prince arrives at work deep in the bowels of the Louvre. A briefcase from Wayne Enterprises arrives for her containing a picture, one that we saw briefly in Batman Vs. Superman. But as Diana reminisces about the past we find that it was no cake walk.

From here we see Diana as a little girl who admires the warriors and wants to be one. He mother reluctantly agrees to allow her training to begin. As time goes on, Diana is revealed to be a strong fighter. She also continues to have a large heart, capable of seeing the good in others.

Her life changes the day Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) falls into the bay from the sky. Diana saves him from drowning. But he is forced to tell the queen of his mission, that he is a spy for the allies during WWI.

From there we go to the front and it is not pretty.

diana-prince.jpegThat is the story does not remain pretty. Gal Gadot, on the other hands paints a picture of a woman determined to make the world better. While her mind is a single track, her fighting abilities are fluid and diverse. In case some poor fool on the internet tells you there is only 10 minutes of fighting, don’t listen.

There is plenty of action including at the training field of the Amazons, on the beach, at the front, and in the final show down. I am not sure which scene is best. The No-Man’s land scene forces Diana to confront the power of war while the scene in which she slides across the floor on her knees is just plain fun.

While all of this is great, Gadot also lets us into the world of the Amazons without being too campy. Yes, they live on an island oasis but it doesn’t mean these women are weak. These are tough women who enjoy a good fight.

What makes this movie sparkle is the realism of the characters. We know guys who can cope and those who cannot. We know people who make smart-aleck comments and people who are tough as needed. Diana, for all of her single-minded focus, is not a simple character. But nor are the characters on our side of the war.

But there is something else. Wonder Woman never works from a point of revenge, as do so many comic book characters do. She comes with the desire to end war, to allow people to be happy. At first she feels things will get better once she takes out a certain player. But by the end, Diana gains a new understanding. That growth of character endeared me.

All in all, this is a movie I want to see again and again. This is a character I would be happy to be around on a more regular person.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Many of you reading this column know that our family is a pet family.

Meaning that we have and had a variety of pets. Dogs stand out for us because they are right there, every day, beside us as we eat supper or take them for walks or give them food or watch TV or snack on anything that might fall on the floor.

Is there anything more cute – or pitiful – than a dog cocking their head just so in order to beg for a morsel of food?

A Dogs purposeSo this past weekend we watched A Dog’s Purpose with the knowledge that it could make us cry.

And we did cry – a lot. In fact, if you know you cry easily this may not be the movie for you. Context-wise, it is meant for adults although you could go as young as some pre-teens. But be aware you are going to have to do some explaining about pets who die, work dogs who die, and the general life span of a pet. There is no way you are getting through this movie with a younger child not wondering about their beloved pet. And they will cry about it.

The story is about the soul of a dog who travels through time to find he first true master.

We are not getting into the discussion of if animals have souls. In this movie, they do. And they laugh at some of their own antics. I have seen dogs give dirty looks, I have seen dogs smile, I have heard tales of a dog getting revenge on those who mistreat them.

But this dog, Bailey, starts off as the pet of a boy named Ethan. They are together through good times and bad times. That is until Bailey finally dies from old age after 12 wonderful years together.

Through the ether of the universe, Bailey comes back to be beloved by several more owners. He discovers his own love and he is mistreated. And then several years later, he finds Ethan again.

There are many actors who make this movie worth watching, starting with Dennis Quaid. As I searched through the cast list I found the names of people I knew as good reliable actors, such as Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, and Josh Gad. I learned about new actors, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Pooch Hall, John Ortiz, and K. J. Apa, who made their roles interesting and compelling.

There is a book of the same name from which this book is based. I read that some portions of the movie are different than the book, which I couldn’t tell you because I haven’t read the book. But I found that this movie had great heart about why pets matter to us humans.

What I do know is that I loved watching this movie and I will probably re-watch it just as soon as I re-gain a healthy level in my my tissue supply.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Mother’s Day

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It is May and I have plenty of garden work to do. I purposely planted zinnia seeds in my front garden in the spots where nothing grows very well. Last fall I loved my blackberry lilies around so they would mostly be in one spot.

At a recent sale I purchased two wild geraniums and a coral bells to place in my shade garden. Then I received a note from a gardening friend who is giving up her flowers. She has offered to let me take a shovel to her yard and grab what I want.

Is there anything more heavenly?

Maybe gardening is not for everyone. I personally love to get into the dirt and create a garden that will bloom at various times of the year. Truth be told, my favorite mother’s day gift is a flat of plants. This year I want to add more lavender and flowering cabbage so that the fall version of my garden is just as pretty as the spring version.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-movie-charactersEveryone does different things for Mother’s day. They might go for brunch or cook a special meal. May be the family does a picnic or a walk in the woods. Some feel it is a special holiday not to be missed while others call it a ‘Hallmark’ holiday.

What is a person to do?

Frankly, my thought is to plant my new plants, supervise cleaning of my house, and have a fabulous meal. At some point I want to watch a movie but the question is always which movie.

I currently have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is sitting on my pile. It’s a good movie continuing stories in the Harry Potter series before his parents were born but not the one I was thinking about.

To Walk InvisibleBut I am really interested in watching a movie that has been featured on Masterpiece Theater called To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters. The story line is set during a three year period in which the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne, and Emily – write literary masterpieces. Their books, respectively – Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Wuthering Heights – were published at a time when women were not designated for anything beyond take care of a home and being married.

From the reviews I have read, this is a raw movie that may inflame your sensibilities as the Bronte sisters deal with being published authors, having their names known to the public, and wondering how to live privately in a public era.

The Bronte sisters were like a lot of resilient women in their era, they succeeded when they were told they could not. Even their own voices whispeared caution. But like every other fiction-how-did-I get -here tale, we find how they made thei r mark, how they changes the landscpe of literture in a goo way.

To me that is worth watching.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

We Can Fly

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When my daughter first told me that the school play was going to be Peter Pan, I had to stop myself from getting every copy of every version of the movie or TV special I could lay my hands on.

I managed to contain myself but was very happy when the kids performed over the weekend. Everyone did a good job, everyone looked great and sang well. Captain Hook had a great evil laugh. Perhaps instead of “Speak Like a Pirate” day in September there should be a “Laugh Like a Maniacal Evil Leader” day. Peter had that joie d’vivre and perfect petulance when he didn’t get his way. And Wendy, well what I can I say here without being an annoyingly boastful mother. But I liked her performance, too.

Peter Pan Mary Martin

Mary Martin As Peter Pan

For those of us over a certain age, we can remember when Mary Martin played the forever young man who never wanted to make the first step of growing up. What you may not know is that Mary Martin was instrumental in getting the musical version of Peter Pan created during the 1950s. She originated the musical role on Broadway and would win a Tony for her performance.

In the 1970s, Olympic Medal winning gymanst Cathy Rigby took on the role. With her hard-won athletic skills, Rigby made flying and mid-air somersaults look natural. When the play went to Broadway, Rigby was nominated for a Tony award for her performance.

Peter Pan Cathy RigbyOf course many people know the Disney animated version. A sequel came out about 10 years ago featuring Jane, the daughter of Wendy who is kidnapped by Captain Hook during WWII. And there is the version with Robin Williams as a grown up Peter Pan with Maggie Smith playing Wendy. We also have Finding Neverland which is about how the write James Barrie came up with the play. None of these movies are my favorite one about the boy who can fly.

My favorite is the live action movie from 2003. The movie stars Jeremy Sumpter as the boy who loves to torment Captain Hook. Unlike the others, this movie is gorgeously filmed. The details of the rooms, the depth of the colors, and layers of scenery brings the movie to life or perhaps larger than life.

Peter Pan IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

But it is not only those visual aspects. I love the language, the words that are spoken. When Wendy expresses her amazement of Peter time and again she speaks of “the cleverness of you.” I am fascinated by Jason Issacs as he plays Hook who learns to fly with happy thoughts of Peter being dead. As Hook breaks down Peter, I am mesmerized by his forceful nature until he is broken down by his one sad thoughts.

Issacs is equally compelling as Mr. Darling who works in a bank to support his family in the manner to which society dictates. There are times that Darling is embarrassed time and again in front of his employer until he begins to realize what really matters in his life. It is his performances that draws me back to this version.

Live performances are better. But if you can’t get that, this makes a great second place.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.