Archive for February, 2018

Avengers and Freedom

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

All this past week the only movie I heard being discussed was Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman.

blackpantherIt is setting records like crazy for highest box office, for highest pre-sale tickets. People are marveling over the fact that the director is only 31 years old. But Ryan Coogler also directed Creed, winning Sylvester Stallone an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

His other movie was the highly touted Fruitville Station, the story about a man shot in the San Francisco mass transit station. All three movies feature Michael B. Jordan. Ever since I saw Jordan on the TV show, Parenthood, I had a feeling he would be a force in Hollywood.

Some people have that ‘something’ and Jordan has ‘it.’ When I saw him in Creed you could feel his charisma. But one of his goals was to play a guy totally unlike himself, completely different and that meant finding a ‘bad guy’ role. He has found that role in Black Panther as Erik Killmonger.

I plan to see this movie sometime in the near future, Black Panther will surely be around for sometime. I‘ve made due with clips and trailers that I can see on Youtube. My youngest has been ordered by his brother to stop giving away the secrets of the movie.

If I am lucky I will still know nothing by the time I get to see it.

Captain America Civil warIn the meantime, I will have to settle for Captain America: Civil War. In this installment of the Marvel Universe, Captain America/Steve Rogers and Iron Man/Tony Stark do not see eye to eye about legislation meant to keep these superheros in check. Tony is for it while Steve believes it goes against everything that America stands for.

Rogers saw what happened the last time people were forced to register and does not want a repeat of that world. Stark, on the other hand, understands why governments want to control the damage that can be done by these super battles.

Soon, the various members of the Avengers, including a whole host of new people, are choosing sides. Some side with Cap, others decide to join forces with Tony. It is not pretty and some of the team members have total fanboy moments. All of this leads to an epic fight between Iron Man and Captain America.

More importantly, there is another force taking advantage of this divide. The reasons why seem crazy and not so crazy. And in the end, it makes us question what we know to be true.

Cap and ironman fightThis is a movie I have watched a few times. While I have a crush on Captain America and his philosophy of what it means to be American, I am fascinated by Tony Stark’s emotional development. Stark appears to be suffering from PTSD but wants to hide it. He also wants to be in charge and constantly improving his technology while ignoring that he made his money from weapons. These are characters that are complex and act out in ways that seem contradictory to what we view as their intrinsic values.

While I notice new details about sets, I never cease to be amazed by the development – both good and bad – of the characters in the Marvel Universe.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Moonstruck by Love

Family Movie Night

Family Movie Night

Every year Valentine’s day comes with read and ink hearts all over the place.

There will be candies and wine flowing. People will go out for dinner or stay home to make a magical feast.

At the moment of this writing, I have no idea what we might be doing beyond youth group that evening at church.

Moonstruck But the one thing I do know is that I want to watch Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. It is a classic although a bit non-traditional love story. I find it to be one of those few perfect movies that makes you laugh and cry. Every scene feels as if it could stand on it’s own.

The story is about an Italian-American woman who lives with her parents. Loretta works as an accountant and has been widowed for many years. She has just accepted a marriage proposal from Johnny, a man she does not love.

Before he leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother, Johny asks Loretta to invite his brother to the wedding. They have been estranged for many years but Johnny wants a fresh start. When Loretta meets Ronny, sparks fly and they fall in love.

moonstruck_mahoney dukakis Meanwhile, her mother is dealing with the knowledge that her husband is cheating on her again. Her sadness is broken for an evening with an interlude with a professor who has played out a usual scene of a break-up. This coule is the great Olympia Dukakis and the late-great John Mahoney who dance around the idea of an affair.

All of the cast, including Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, and Fedor Chaliapin Jr., make this a rich family drama that is so much more than your typical romantic comedy. You have stories about the renewal of hope, the power one holds in marriage when you don’t think you have that power. The binds of family and resposibility.

Moonstruck - family breakfast There is the great musical selections of Dean Martin, Vicki Carr, and songs from La Bohome that seal each moment of feeling and emotion.

And then there is the other character that is not listed, the city of New York with its historic buildings and distinctive neighborhoods. We see the lovely opera house and toodle around Brooklyn. We see Loretta’s life that might be dull to some people but makes sense for her in the life of a broken dream.

I could go on and on about this movie for the richness of the characters, the pack of dogs led around by the grandfather, the beauty of the moon, the intensity of feelings by Nicholas Cage, and the need for great love in any of these characters’ lives.

Because the feelings are so real, so close to home without a false note, there is almost no way I could ever fall out of love with this movie. That’s why it is the perfect Valetine’s day movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Three Billboards

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Lately the boys have been watching horror movies. They keep watching horror movies from the 70s and 80s.

I am not a big fan of horror movies.

Monster movies don’t thrill me either. I know that there are real monsters in this world that are frightening more than any movie. When I saw the video of the father who went after the doctor who sexually abused so many female gymnasts, I can’t say that I found him completely wrong. I understood his emotions.

Three BillboardsIt is those same emotions that are on display in the Oscar TM nominated Three Billboards outside Ebbings, Missouri. The story is about a woman who rents three billboards outside of her small town. The bright red billboards question why the sheriff has not found a killer.

The killer that Mildred (Frances McDormand) wants brought to justice raped and killed her teenage daughter. And she feels that Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) is not doing his job. The Chief wants to find the killer. But he is dealing with many other issues, including a deputy (Sam Rockwell) who is accused of police brutality.

There’s more, as there is always more with a story like this. There are many blind alleys and unexpected happening.

I am not going to tell you about them.

To do so at this time would ruin the movie for you as it is still so new in the theaters. But I will say that this movie took me to places I did not expect. Just when I thought I understood what was happening, a curve would be thrown, a mystical element appeared, bitterness could not be denied.

Director Martin McDonagh also wrote the original screenplay. He stated that during a bus ride across America he saw three billboards asking questions about a crime. He wanted to explore how a person could come to a point that they needed to do this and that is how he came up with the character of Mildred.

Three Billboards 2

From the commercials, I thought the movie would be more of a black comedy. But as it went on, I felt is was more of a slice of life movie through the eyes of a person living through deep grief. I believe that this is one of those movies for adults dealing with the adult topic of grief on various levels. The swearing alone would put off some people, especially the scene in which Mildred tells off the priest.

It’s a role that only a fearless actress could portray and McDormand is certainly that. She allows Mildred’s grief and anger and fear to take over, showing the extremes a mother might go to to find the killer of her daughter despite their rocky relationship.

Other cast members put in solid performances that don’t let you down during an onslaught of tension and continuous storytelling. The nominations for various awards are all deserved.

There are no easy answers, no simple solutions to this movie. That is why it will reap many Oscars come March 4th.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.