Archive for August, 2017


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The other night I decided to watch Rogue One because I hadn’t seen it yet.

The idea is great. It is the missing link between Episode III and Episode IV. It tells some important details and moves us to know the whys and hows of that all important fourth movie. For those of you over the age of 45 that would be Star Wars. Not A New Hope, not Episode IV but Star Wars, the movie that allowed people who are science fiction fantasy geeks to get their geek on out loud and in public.

Star WarsThat movie was amazing in its day. Star Wars was/is a Messiah story, the desire for the mythical hero who comes from no where special to save the day. It is a story told and re-told over the years. It is the battle of right over might and good versus evil.

Along with the heavy drama, we also had moments of laughter as Hans Solo and Chewbacca try to navigate getting Luke where he needs to be despite their reluctance. Through them we find something to laugh about and not get bogged down in the constant terror driven by the evil empire and the presence of Darth Vader.

Some might see that as a metaphor for modern times, some might see Vader as the power-crazed villain we need for any war movie to work. But as I watched Rogue One, I have to admit I was under-whelmed.

It is a movie I feel I have seen too many times in this genre. Our heroine is a girl who has lost her family to the evil empire. She has been cast out and lives in jail, her crime unknown to us although we think we know what it is. And then she gets a chance at freedom as long as she is willing to do something for the opposition, as long as she helps them her chance for freedom will come to fruition.

Now, I know there will be Star Wars fans who will be upset but I fell asleep during this movie. With all of the noise and the banging and the explosions and fights, I fell asleep. Not even the cool blind Jedi fighter was enough to keep me awake. And he was really cool.

When I woke up in time for the last 30 minutes, I tried to stay into it. I wanted to see the end. And when I did, I was highly disappointed. “You didn’t tell me about that!?!” I told my son.

 

I didn’t want to ruin it for Rogue One

you,” he said.

Which is a good thing if I was a crazy attending conventions sort of Star Wars fanatic. No one wants the secret of the movie revealed. Even when a movie has been out for several years, there are still people who get upset when the secret is revealed.

So I won’t reveal it.

But I will say if you are a Star Wars fanatic, you are going to love this movie and have probably already watched it a gazillon times to get all the little references and easter eggs. For those of you who enjoy the series without going overboard I will say that this movie is good, has some compelling characters and some wish-they-weren’t-here characters. You can watch it with the kids, find a few laughs here and there, and find some great explosions.

However, if you fall asleep at any given part, I am certainly the last person who would kick you to the curb as a friend.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Still a Wonder

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Sometimes after you have have seen a movie, there is a bit of a high feeling like this is the best movie you have ever seen and nothing can ever compare to it.

But then hours or days go by, you think about the movie some more and realize maybe it wasn’t so great.

I have had that once the fantastic visual effect or great music placement has worn off. What seemed great is long gone till all I see are the deficits.

Wonder woman - pictureI have not felt that way about Wonder Woman and at this point I don’t expect to do so. Every time I see a commercial or a clip from the movie, still get excited. Knowing that it comes out on DVD on the 19th makes me want to buy a copy for myself.

Director Patty Jenkins gave us a tour de force about a superhero whose motivation is not about revenge or cleaning up after a bad mistake. Diana’s motivation is always about fighting evil and promoting the best parts of humanity.

That doesn’t mean to say she is a wimpy or wishy-washy character. When meeting Steve Trevor’s secretary, Etta, and hearing her job duties, Diana’s response is forthright as she says in her country that is called slavery.

Each fight scene shows Diana running into the forefront of battle, never shying away from the danger or the action.

That fearlessness shows on Gal Gadot’s face in every scene. There are times that she appears to relish the battle, to know she is actively fighting all that is wrong in the world. It also shows up in the quiet moments when Diana leave her home island when she tells her mother that she would be a worse kind of person to stay knowing there is evil outside of their world, killing thousands and doing nothing.

Brave words met with action.

Wonder woman - homeWhile one character can make a movie good, it takes a group to make it great. Gadot has solid support in Chris Pine as Steve Trevor who is always quick on his feet no matter what the situation. He is a man of his time and treats Diana as a precious object to be protected, not realizing till later, she doesn’t need to be protected.

And then there is David Thewlis as Sir Patrick, Trevor’s patron. He states he wants the war to be over and he is willing to back whatever plans Steve makes. His character is charming and gentlemanly, what we expect from an English aristocrat. Thewlis makes the role effortlessly his, no more Professor Lupin hesitancy here.

Lastly, I have to mention Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana’s aunt and trainer, General of the Amazons. We have seen her be fierce in House of Cards but in this role she has to step it up 500 times and she does so. With every scene of training and fighting, Wright never stops to consider, never backs down. Even her scene when she is gravely injured is still a performance of toughness. It allows us to see where Diana gets her inner strength.

There are few movies I choose to watch over and over again. This is absolutely one of the one I will watch again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

To me there is nothing like a bad movie.

I don’t mean good enough but not a great movie. I mean bad, I mean super bad. I mean something so preposterous and unrealistic that there is no way you can buy into the story line. There may not be one character, including the lead, that you can find likable, sympathetic, or even heroic enough to root for in the proceedings.

But it has to be a movie that is so bad that you want to watch it again and laugh at it.

My go-to-movie in this situation is always Barb Wire (1996) starring Pamela Anderson Lee in a bad futuristic dystopian drama in which Pamela Anderson does her best Humphrey Bogart. She is the owner of the hippest night club in town that is only mildly harassed by the police. Things get done through he club that don’t happen anywhere else.

Barb Wire IMDb com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

However, Barb wants nothing to do with it. He goal is to keep herself and her blind brother alive. Her sideline job is being a bounty hunter and she is the best. Once upon a time she worked in the resistance but no more. Barb doesn’t take sides and she doesn’t like being called “babe.”

This is not a movie for small children as there is plenty of violence, swearing, and nudity on the part of Miss Lee. It has a lot of energy with some fantastic scenes of action, destruction, and explosions. Sure, it is a reboot of Casablanca and it is interesting to see how the director imagined 2017 back in the 90s. But this is not high art. Fun to watch, yes. Great cinema, no.

The same could be said about a movie that was released over the winter called Monster Trucks. The story is about an oil company that is fracking in North Dakota. But one night something comes out and it is something that likes to eat oil.

Meanwhile, Tripp – a young man who works at the local junk yard – notices weird noises and happenings. Soon he discovers the reason for all of the weird noises and creates a bond with this strange monster. In doing so, he requires the help of pretty Meredith and must keep the secret away from his step father and the oilmen.

Monster TrucksThis is not a great movie. In fact it was held back for release until January 2017. More over, Angus Till went on to star in the re-boot of the McGiver TV show. But what this movie has is fun, Who doesn’t want to see trucks destroyed or able to climb walls and practically fly over roof tops. Not only that, we get the heart-warming story of a boy developing a bond with his step-father.

Lastly, we get a buddy movie as the monster and Tripp develop a relationship while fighting evil oil guys. Can it get any better? Probably not but this movie is family friendly and filled with fun action.

And in the days before school, sometimes a relaxing night with a bad movie is just what the family needs.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.