Tag Archive: angelina jolie


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I had been putting off seeing Maleficent because I knew it was a re-telling of a familiar fairy tale and I wasn’t sure I was up to it.

While the other updates on fairy tales are about girl power and taking control of your own destiny, this one goes a step further to a darker place. Something is taken from our lead character that can never be replaced and then she is treated as the villain for wanting revenge.

MaleficentHere Angelina Jolie plays a fairy who is the protector of her world which lies next to a human kingdom. The humans can see this wonderful magical area and want to take it over. But Maleficent won’t allow it, using trees for her army. The king is furious and wants her destroyed.

Only one man in his circle knows how to do this and Stephan uses knowledge from his shared childhood with Maleficent to make sure she cannot fight as strongly as she did that day. It is a great betrayal that leads to a curse on her part and maddening obsession his. And it ends with a battle royal on the day of his daughter’s 16th birthday.

If this retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story is anything, it is beautifully photographed with rich colors and well done CGI. The sets and costuming brings one into the time period as well. I enjoyed that aspect. What bothers me is the motivation for the curse, the reason behind everything which is upsetting and unsettling. I have seen and read re-told tales. Is that what Wicked is after all, tell the story from the Wicked Witch of the West’s point of view?

It is not just what was taken from Maleficent but by whom it was done, a most trusted friend. It reminds me of too many real cases of theft of this sort and how the victim is always made to be the villain in the story. It is not a movie for the younger crowd, better viewing and understanding will happen with the younger teens and older because of the context of the movie. I would be prepared to answer questions at the end.

On the lighter end of the spectrum, Zootopia comes out on DVD this week. When I first heard of this movie, I was not impressed. It took hearing a few friends’ reviews and watching it for myself to really fall in love.

ZootopiaThe story is about a bunny who lives in the country and dreams of being a police office. Not just any police force, she wants to land on the police department of the large capitol city, Zootopia. And when she does, Judy is not given the most exciting job. However, soon enough she is knee deep into an investigation that starts off being about a missing animal and leads into something much bigger.

Judy, it turns out, is quite resourceful especially when she blackmails fox Nick Wilde to help get into places she can’t otherwise. The action is fast paced, characters are well drawn and interesting, and Judy’s optimism is infectious. The other big plus is the theme song by Shakira who voices Gazelle in the movie. Every time that song comes on the radio, my minivan rocks.

While this is a great kids movie, be aware that if your pre-school child is scared by loud roars and some aggressive behavior, they may not enjoy this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Valentine’s Day At Home

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

By this time next week, there will be Valentine cards strewn about. I know that my house will have little cards all over after a great rush to get them written out by one child.

Some might take advantage of the weekend to carve out quality time with their sweetie, a stay-at-home couples night if you will.

Image from IMDb.com

My first choice of movies in the romantic genre is Return To Me starring Minnie Driver and David Duchoveny. I love the Chicago locations, the musical selections, and the performances by the cast. It is one of the few movies that I find to be near perfection.

I asked my husband for his opinion, what did he think was a good movie for couples.  Perhaps this shows our age but his immediate response was When Harry Met Sally, the holy grail of romantic comedy perfection. It is one of the wordiest movies but for English majors it is extraordinary how it shows love moving through the hearts of two people destined for each other.

Image from IMDb.com

I would say the same about Sleepless In Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Note that all three of these star Meg Ryan who knows how to put together cute and quirky in one package.

For those wanting an action packed romance, there is always Mr. and Mrs. Smith starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple who are both spies and must take each other out. There are many sequences that seem far-fetched but I found the movie to be very enjoyable.

For those who are movie buffs, I have an oldie but goodie to suggest. The Enchanted Cottage stars Robert Young and  Dorothy McGuire. He is a war hero left scarred from his military career while she is a homely girl.

They meet at the honeymoon cottage where she works and fall in love. But something strange happens to them. They see something that others do not and somehow this only strengthens their love for each other. Finding this movie might be difficult as I have not seen it released on DVD as of yet.

Image from IMDb.com.

Finally, I know that there are some people out there who are suffering broken hearts. Perhaps the person left or you left them. I think the lead character in Bridemaids as portrayed by Kristen Wiig can certainly relate. While this is not a movie for kids or to watch with someone who would make you wince inside, it is a funny movie.

The story is about a woman who was dumped by her boyfriend and lost her bakery business but must make the best of things when her best friend announces her engagement. Further more, Wiig is asked to be the maid of honor. Complicate that with another woman who wants to take charge of everything and get all of the credit.

 How does one fight against another woman who is taking away your best friend and besting you at every turn when you are broke and she is super rich?

To me the best scene is when Melissa McCarthy lets Wiig know she is always there for her with a physical fight. Some may call this the ‘female’ Hangover movie but I call it something much better than that.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Until next year, see you in the rental aisle.

Get a Little Speed Up

Family Movie Night

One of the frustrating things about winter is you cannot drive fast on the roads.

 Just when you think you can, another driver is scared by the ice and the snow and the slickness of it all. There they are, driving maybe 25 mph in the center of the road, with you unable to pass them.

There are ways of getting around. Be patient and safely pass (ha!), turning on the next road when the car in front goes straight, run the other car off the road (not my personal suggestion as I may be that driver going 20 mph). Or you can plan your movie viewing for those flicks that show maximum amount of speed and daring. 

The Mach 5 from Speed Racer; Picture from IMDb.com

  Let’s start with a suggestion best for all family members. Remember when Speed Racer came out a few years ago. I loved watching the colors as the cars fly by on one of the most original race tracks I have ever seen. Emile Hirsch stars as the grown-up Speed who dreams of being the best driver ever who will win The Crucible, a race that killed his brother several years ago.

 I love the brightly colored sets, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon as Speed’s parents, and the roar of the cars. It is rated PG and has only one mildly questionable scene that quickly becomes OK when little brother Spritle shows up. Maybe this is not what you thought of as compared to your memories of the 70s’ cartoon but I think the Wachowski Brothers did a great job.

Anthony Hopkins with his modified Indian motorcycle; Picture from IMDb.com

 This movie is a few years old and may be hard to find but I absolutely adored The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins. This biography, better suited for adults, is about Burt Monro, a New Zealander who built the fast Indian motorcycle ever. And he wants to test it on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the U.S. So Monro gets a mortgage on his home and makes the trip.

 Here is the problem. The Indian has no brakes, skimpy tires and lacks a chute. Can he get around these obstacles just to see how fast the Indian can go? Will you get caught up in the story? Absolutely.

Movie Poster; Picture from IMDb.com

 Which leads me to my next and final selection. Gone in 60 Seconds puts Nicholas Cage in a sticky situation. In order to save his brother’s life, the retired car thief must steal 50 specific exotic cars in a four-day period. To do so, he brings back several of his old team members, including Angelina Jolie.

This movie is rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and language which makes it inappropriate for the youngest members of the house. It is a slick movie about fast cars, full of adrenaline rushes that come from great car chase scenes. When you want speed, this is the place to go.

 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.