Archive for May, 2018


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Sometimes I like watching older movies because I want to see what was different from then. I also like to see what is the same. Some old movies I watch because I have fond memories of them and want to have those good feelings again.

Lady and the Tramp SignatureI recently saw the Disney Signature Collection of Lady and the Tramp, the 1955 animated movie from the Disney company that saw its biggest hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. This collection was release just this month.

I know I read this book to my kids when they were little but I never remember watching more than bits and pieces of this movie.

Of course the spaghetti dinner scene is the most iconic, the most remembered scene. And it almost didn’t go in because Walt Disney didn’t like the scene.

Perhaps you know the story, perhaps not. Lady comes to the Dear family as a Christmas gift to Darling from her husband, Jim. They love the adorable cocker spaniel who becomes a valued member of the family. Lady has her routines and friends in the neighborhood.

When Darling becomes pregnant, Lady worries that her role in the house will change. But it doesn’t and soon she adores the little human as much as she adores his parents.

However, the couple need to take a trip away from home and Aunt Sarah comes to watch the baby. This is when the trouble begins. Aunt Sarah hates dogs and brings her evil cats with her. Now my husband would say “but of course they’re evil, they are cats after all.”

lady_and_the_tramp_spaghetti

This is when Lady runs away in fear and she finds herself being protected by Tramp, a lovable mongrel who manages to evade the dog catcher time and again. As Lady works to escape all that frightens her, Tramp guides her through the free and easy life.

This remains a beautiful movie to watch, the animation is layered and smooth. Storytelling is key. We find ourselves rooting for Lady because she is such a winning personality. Tramp, too, wins our heart because he is the classic bad boy who is just waiting for a good woman to change him. He is genuinely upset when bad things happen to Lady.

However, the opening has not aged well, feeling corny and old-fashioned in a bad way. My daughter wanted me to fast-forward through it to get to the movie. It is the same with the ending, It is the old heavy handed music with the choral singing with many voices but little harmony.

The other disappointing part of this DVD is that there are no extra featurettes about the making of the movie or how they worked to create the different scenes. In the loop that plays while you are deciding what to to, there are wonderful pencil drawings of various characters that slowly move into full color animation. I wish that there was more on this history of this movie.

This signature edition was good for one night of watching. But if you are looking for more, you need to spend time on the internet to find it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Breaking In

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past Mother’s Day, one of my gifts was a movie date with my son.

Now this was going to interesting because he prefers horror or deadly action/adventure movies while I am more of a romantic comedy or straight comedy fan. I hate the nightmares I get with his favorite genres while he likes comedies that are a bit more racy or drug infused.

Breaking inFor whatever reasons, we settled on Breaking In starring Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke. I like Gabrielle Union, she has always played tough women who seemed smarter than most. She has had a 20-year career in Hollywood playing strong women.

And in this movie she must be strong when she and her kids go to her deceased father’s house for the weekend in order to get it ready to put on the market.

As you may have guessed, her father had a few secrets. Such as what his business entailed and just how much security fills the house. And this is a beautiful spread. Lots of square footage, lots of rolling greens, and wooded areas. The house has a security gate and a long winding driveway.

Problems start when our grieving mom, Shaun, and her children find out that there are intruders in the house. Unfortunately for Mom, the kids are inside while she is outside. These men want something within the house and they are willing to kill to get it.

The leader, Eddie, played by Billy Burke of Twilight fame, pretends to be a nicer guy. He pretends he doesn’t want to kill an entire family to get what he wants. He leaves that role to henchman Duncan, played by Richard Cabral, who likes waving a knife around.

Soon we are in a struggle as the men try to find something in the house and keep the mother bear at bay. After all she just a woman, she can’t fight back. Or can she?

Breaking in 2You know the answer to this question because we have seen this movie before. I like that Union makes Shaun into a caring person and not some fighting robot. She never loses her compassion for her kids or others caught in the web of these intruders. But it doesn’t feel fresh or new, nothing seems to be added to this film that moves it beyond what it is. Its one of those movies that you will watch later on when it appearsom a day when you need to veg. For that it is perfect.

My biggest gripe has to do with the location of the movie early on. We are shown a street sign and for those who know the city, it is obviously the Old Town neighborhood in Chicago. As the man jogs, it appears that he is running along the lakefront near Belmont harbor. Next, he is running in a residential area that features big houses and wide streets. While there are mansions in Chicago, this looks more like some North Shore neighborhoods. For a character who creates a super stronghold, it seems inconsistent that he does an unprotected daily run that takes him on a twenty plus mile run.

This is one of those movies you could watch with your older teens. Just be aware that there is plenty of violence and some swearing as this has a PG-13 rating. It wasn’t the worst movie I‘ve seen this year but I was hoping it would be better.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes a few years ago.

Despite watching my diet and exercising, there have been no easy fixes. I did not have that lovely dramatic weight loss nor have my numbers chosen to stay in their proper range.

Recently I was told to get diabetic shoes and change a few more aspects of my daily routines. While I know I am lucky that I never had Type One, there are days when I wonder if I will ever get used to all of this. I think about the changes I have made and wonder what else is there for me to give up. But I also try to not look at is as giving up but prolonging my life with fewer health complications.

Secret Life of Walter Mitty posterIt is saddening and overwhelming, making me want to hide from it all some days.

Perhaps that is why I have been thinking about the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013). This remake of the classic MGM movie is about a man who spends much of his life day dreaming about the things he wishes he could be or do.

Walter, as played by Ben Stiller, has always been a very careful man, a guarded man, who have never traveled or done anything outside of the small parameter of his life. Recently, he has developed a crush on a co-worker but is not brave enough to talk to her. He works as an image manager for Life magazine that is about to print it’s final hard copy magazine. Soon, this version of Life will be online only and staff members will lose their jobs.

It is up to Walter to find the last picture from a renown photographer and the man jumps into the assignment. The man afraid to travel find himself flinging himself into one adventure after another, trying to find the reclusive photographer and the final image meant to be the final cover image of a dying magazine.

Secret life of Walter Mitty skateboardThrough his adventures, Walter discovers something about himself. I guess we expect that because this movie is all about change and growth. And we want it to be happy. And Walter changes through his travels. When ever someone goes on a journey of self discovery and growth, there are expectations that this person will be a better version of themselves.

Walter may have wished for more when he started on his journey. He expects more when he returns home. And he gets more. I love the travelogue aspect of this movie, the beautiful scenery. I enjoy some of the philosophy as well. Sean Penn can deliver the mystical magical performance when needed, sometimes that mystical aura is right there in front of us and we just can’t see it.

Sometimes it requires us to travel around the world to see what was always there but hiding in plain sight.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Infinity War

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

So Friday night, my daughter and I went to see Avengers: Infinity War. Even though I had bought tickets the night before, we still had to wait outside in a long line to get in to the theater before the show.

Avengers Infinity WarI have to admit I went into this movie with some fears and preconceived notions. I wasn’t sure if this was the last movie, that it would end the series. I wondered how bloody it would be or if it would be too much for me to watch.

I walked in with these fears because this movie was going to be heavy. Thanos, a super villain, is a character who is trying to find balance in the world and he tends to invade various worlds. He almost always instantly kill half of the population with no rhyme or reason as to who is killed.

But now he is trying to collect six infinity stones in order to put his plan of equal destruction throughout the universe without having to leave the comfort of his home. We watch as Thanos tromps his way through the universe working to get the remaining of the six stones.

That is all I can say without getting much more into the story line. It is too complicated.

I can tell you this. Do not go in blind.

There are a lot of characters from the Marvel universe, some from the first Captain America movie. Others come from the Thor and Iron Man movies. Newer characters who have had only one or two movie so far are here as well.

If you don’t go on a Marvel Universe binge before seeing this movie, you might want to create a score card. There will barely be any clues as to how various characters relate to each other. As they interact with each other you will only notice some friendliness between a few and animosity between others.

Honestly, it is easier to go on a Marvel Universe binge.

Avengers Infinity War 2Once you do, go see this movie because it is great. It asks the difficult questions of mortality and survival and why anyone would continue fighting when it appears nothing is left. This is not the usual light-hearted comic book fare. It is heavy with light moments thrown in. And there are moments when the crowd in the theater cheered because favorite characters showed up. There are other moments when the crowd voiced their disappointment over happenings in the movie.

This is one movie that will stick in my head for quite some time. I will think about different characters and what they were willing to do to fight evil. I will think about the Rapture and how this movie reminds me of those aspects.

I might even go see this movie again to catch all the little things I missed that might lead to clues about the next Avengers movie which is currently scheduled to be released a year from now.

I am looking forward to it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.