Tag Archive: Ben Stiller


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.

Going into The Tower

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Every now and again, I get surprised by a movie.

 

Like other movie goers, I read the reviews and listen to what other people have to say. I read boards on movie websites and try to get an idea about a movie before I see it.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

So when the husband picked up Tower Heist over the weekend, I was not expecting much. The reviews were poor and some people wondered out loud if Ben Stiller had lost his way.

 

But that is not what I thought about the movie after I watched it.

 

Perhaps it was the revenge factor but I was entertained by this movie.

 

The story is about a building manager of a prestigious building that offers house cleaning and food service to its residents. The Ben Stiller character is close to several of the residents, including Alan Alda who lives in the penthouse.

 

But when that man, who was trusted with the pension funds of the workers in the building, is arrested for taking his clients’ money and not investing it, well, our building manager goes a little crazy. Especially after one of Stiller’s best employees tries to commit suicide once he realizes his entire nest egg is gone.

 

Stiller might go up to the man’s apartment with a couple of staff members and bust out the windows of a classic car that sits in the living room. While his actions inspire his staff and Tea Leoni, the lead FBI agent on the case, his boss fires the long time employee. But a comment from Leoni makes Stiller realize he knows where the ‘escape’ money is located. And that is when the building manager begins the plan to get the money back for his workers.

 

One of the complaints about this movie is you see everything that is coming. Director Brett Ratner is not trying to make a groundbreaking movie; his goal is to make a movie that the family can enjoy in the PG-13 area while giving parents a reason to cheer as another greedy financier gets taken down.

 

It is popcorn viewing at best with Eddie Murphy getting off some of the best lines.

 

Is this the best heist movie I have ever seen?

 

Not really. Tower Heist was fun with an element or two I never expected. However, the Ocean movies, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, have more style to them. I also like Heist starring Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pigeon, and Sam Rockwell which was written by David Mamet.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

But the movie you want to see is the classic 1968 Steve McQueen movie, The Thomas Crown Affair in which McQueen plays a millionaire thief. Faye Dunaway is the detective on his case and she gets very close to her suspect. It is perhaps one of the best heist movies.

As for a kid/family movie in the same ‘heist’ genre, the one that comes to mind is Monster House in which three kids figure out the creepy Victorian house across the street is alive. And if they have any hope of finding the multitudes of lost toy and people, drastic action might have to take place. This movie might be a little too scary for the littlest kids but it is great for those who have just started grade school.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

As Halloween creeps ever closer, we think we should be watching scary movies.

 

And why not? The rental racks are filled with spooky fun and gory scary movies.

 

So perhaps you are watching Cabin in The Woods or Paranormal nth degree.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

As some of you may know, I am not a big horror movie fan. They give me nightmares and who needs that in their life when there are so many other scary things in real life. My questionable movie tastes run towards costume dramas, raunchy comedies and just about anything with Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp.

 

And that explains why I am putting Dark Shadows on my list of movies to watch this month. The movie is a Tim Burton remake of the old soap opera that was camp at its best. This time around, Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas Collins whose casket has been uncovered by a construction project.

 

He was trapped there in the 1700s and it is now 1972. The world has changed but his family seems mired in disaster. The ineffective patriarch Roger (Johnny Lee Miller) is a bit of a playboy while his sister, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfieffer) runs the family. But their problems can be traced to one person, namely a 200-year-old witch by the name of Angelique (Eva Green) who has held a grudge against the Collins family for that long as well.

 

This is not a great storyline, I get that. But what this movie offers is the quirkiness of director Tim Burton playing with Americana and Johnny Depp. It is a movie that will see me with a big bowl of popcorn, enjoying every moment – I hope.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Next week there is another movie coming out that just seems wrong in so many ways and yet I am looking forward to seeing it. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith in which our 16th president is re-seen as a vampire killer.

 

He has his reasons for hating the undead and he is quite good at taking them out. This movie is billed as coming from the imagination of Tim Burton who is a producer but not the director. That job went to Timur Bekmambetov who also directed Wanted. I have heard bad reviews, good reviews and everything in between.

 

I have heard it is a subtle comedy, kick-butt action or parallel universe gone wrong. Before Daniel Day-Lewis comes out with his defining performance of Lincoln in the Speilberg movie due out for later this year, I think I am watching this for some spooky campy fun.

 

Now I realize both of these movies are meant for teens and adults. I would not show either to my 11- or 8-year-old children. Luckily for them, the newest Madagascar movie is out on DVD in which the gang tries to get back to New York City disguised as a circus while wearing crazy rainbow afro wigs. It sounds crazy and ridiculous and probably not very good. Sounds like a party to me.

Image from IMDb.com

Can you imagine the fun of dancing around the living room when they do that ‘move it’ song?

 

Yep, my kids are pretty horrified at the thought – which is why I am considering doing it anyway.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.