Tag Archive: Albert Brooks


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Cooling off sometimes means hitting a wonderfully cool movie theater.

Besides a library, one of my favorite places to hang is a nice cool and dark movie theater. Plus the kids wanted to see Finding Dory so it was one of those win-win situations.

Finding DoryAll of us liked the movie. It was fun, bright and colorful most of the time. Dory, as ever, is fearless despite or because of her memory problems.

In this movie, Dory has a memory come back to her while helping Mr. Ray lead class. In it, she remembers her parents. Suddenly, Dory realizes she has to go home to California. And like all of Dory’s ideas, they have to happen now.

Thankfully, Marlin knows a guy who can help them.

Soon, they have found their way to California, to a marine life rescue and release center. Dory pieces together bits of memories, figuring out how to find her family.

Like all good adventure movies, there are close calls and separations and reunions and companions who seem unreliable but are the best friends you’re going to ever have. We have chase scenes and close calls and the impossible solution to a problem.

Are you going to love this movie?

Probably, especially if you liked the first one. But things are different. First off, the annoying part of Dory’s memory problem is made clear. There is no rest for Marlin, he and other adults, are always on the watch out for Dory because she is easily distracted and forgets two seconds after you tell her something. Marlin can be snappy and irritable.

Secondly, there are some scary scenes, especially for those of us who might be claustrophobic. The pipe scene got to me, had me running for more popcorn when I didn’t need more popcorn. Thankfully by the time I go back to my seat, that scene was over. And I don’t feel like I missed much much or a big clue.

Lastly, this movie has a more California vibe to it, especially with the music. It is more laid back, less ethnic than the first movie.

Finding Dory HankWhat is the same as Finding Nemo are the great side characters. There are the ferocious sea lions defending their rock while helping Marlin and Nemo. We meet Becky, the slightly deranged bird. Then there is Hank the seven tentacled octopus. His only goal in life is to get to Cleveland and never return to the ocean, if he can help it. Ed O’Neil has fun with this character and makes him almost more important than Dory.

What I didn’t like was the slow opening, the heavy handedness of fair treatment to disabilities. And I think about the world as it was in the days of the first movie. Autism had not come to the great rates as it is today. ABA therapies and GFCF diets were being developed for a population that started growing like crazy. And the aging population was on the verge of a great Alzheimer’s epidemic. Life has changed in those 13 years. We look at our parents and our children, wondering how to cope with it all.

The adults may never be allowed to forget these issues. But the kids do, they just see Dory as Dory. She is strong and brave and funny and believable as she goes on an adventure of rediscovery. Pixar has done what they do best, put together a strong story with great animation. And this movie never lets us down in the process.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.`

Going to the Chapel

Family Movie Night

 

Last week was graduation.

 

I don’t know about you but I was incredibly weepy. Not only was one of my guys graduating but so were most of his friends. all of these guys have hung out at my house and now they are moving on to high school.

 

I remember the first day of kindergarten when my guy RAN to his kindergarten class. Left me behind and made his move. Now, he is planning to do the same for high school.

 

I really need to get used to this. After all it is June, the month of home leaving, especially if there is going to be a wedding  in your family. One day they are seeing a great new person and then – WHAM! – they are getting married. They leave home and start a new life.

 

Well, what can you do but celebrate it. And watch a movie or two.

 

James McAvoy and Emily Blunt give voice to "Gnomeo and Juliet," Image from IMDb.com

My new favorite romance movie is Gnomeo and Juliet. It is this incredibly cute movie by DreamWorks about two crazy kids who fall in love despite their families’ long feud. She is a red gnome and he is a blue gnome. Both have been told to hate the other although who knows for what reason in the first place.

 

This is a movie that is highly watchable by the younger kids and the parents or grandparents will love the soundtrack that is Elton John/Bernie Taupin music of our youth. I enjoyed the sequence in which Gnomeo discusses his love life with the Shakespeare statue in the park. Sure, it is obvious and maybe self-serving but what a fun little bit.

 

Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas starring in "The In-Laws," Image from IMDb.com

Another fave is The In-laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.  In this wedding movie the focus is more on the relationship of the father-in-laws more than the bride and groom. The  PG-13 flick – best suited for early teens and up – has many interesting moments as we, like the Alert Brooks character, discovers that Michael Douglas is either crazy or really a CIA agent. Douglas is fearless whereas Brooks is a phobia-filled foot doctor.

 

Maybe this movie is not as good as the original with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin but I love it for the popcorn fun of it and Ryan Reynolds plays the groom. However, we also get to see some interesting shots of Chicago. I personally loved the para-gliding scene as they take off from the top of the Hancock building.

 

Billy Crystal, Brino Kirby, Carrie Fischer and Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally...," Image from IMDb.com.

Now there are many movies that feature a wedding in some shape or form. But my favorite one is one of the best romantic comedies of all time. There is a pivotal scene that takes place at a wedding in When Harry Met Sally… but more than anything this movie is about love. Love that lasts a lifetime and how it can be right there and you simply do not see it.

 

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have incredible chemistry together as they spar about men, women, love, friendship and sex over the years. This is not a movie I am watching with my younger kids although the older teens could be around for it. Or maybe not because this is a movie I enjoy watching either by myself or with my husband.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Behind the Scenes

Family Movie Night

 One of the neat things about being a nosy parker (that would be me) is that you are always learning or seeing new and different things.  Sometimes that means people don’t want to talk to me and other times it means we get some interesting requests.

A few weeks ago, friends of ours asked if our daughter would be interested in acting in their film. It is a 10-minute short that has her playing a girl who dies in an accident. The rest of the story is to be a surprise and I will leave it at that.

What I will say is that it has been fascinating to watch the filming. We always see the finished product but to get that film takes time. You can go through a scene several times for a number of reasons.

The actors did fine but the shot itself needs to be refined. Or the actors flubbed a line or changed how they did something or had an attack of the giggles after much repetition.

Sometimes a scene will go off perfectly, requiring only a second shot to get a timing glitch out of the way.

Paul Giamatti and Frankie Muniz in "Big Fat Liar," Image from IMDb.com

Plus, you have to remain super quiet during the actual take because the microphone is so strong it will pick up sounds in other areas. We couldn’t talk or move around. I made my youngest son stop playing for a moment when he was on set one day so the sound wouldn’t ruin the shot.

All of this made me wonder about movies that are about the movies. For the kids, there is Big Fat Liar starring Frankie Muniz as a kid who’s last ditch paper is stolen by big time movie producer Paul Giammatti. So the kid and his best friend, Amanda Bynes, go to Hollywood hoping to get credit where credit is deserved.

Sharon Stone and Albert Brooks in "Thr Muse," Image from IMDb.com.

For something a little more adult and crazy, there is The Muse starring Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone. He is a screen writer hitting a serious block and she is a consultant of sorts who helps Hollywood-types break blocked periods. But she comes at a cost and prefers gifts in little blue boxes.

 When I did some quick looking around, I found that not everyone loved this movie as much as I have. I love the movie for being breezy and fun. That everyone caters to Stone in the manner she demands is hilarious.

Erick Von Stronheim, Gloria Swanson and William Holden in "Sunset Boulevard," Image from IMDb.com

Now if you want to go to classic movies about Hollywood , the ultimate behinds the scenes movie to me is Sunset Boulevard. What does one do when the zenith of your fame has gone away? What does one do when your multitude of fans disappear? If you are Gloria Swanson, you go crazy. Your mindset remains in the past. And you hire men to be your ‘companion.’

What movies about Hollywood do you love?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.