Tag Archive: danger


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, St. Patrick’s Day will be over. The corn beef and cabbage with exist in dribs and drabs. The potatos are crumbs.

But don’t let that stop you from watching some Irish movies. What I like are the ones that mix myth/fairy tales into real life. In the middle of land lacked farm land, we do not get seals that might be able to transform into humans.

But that is the subject of the movie Ondine starring Colin Ferrell and Alicja Bachleda. Ferrell is a down-on-his-luck fisherman in Ireland who shares his daughter with his ex. One day his nets pick up a beautiful young woman. She doesn’t want to be seen by anyone else, so Ferrell hides her in his mother’s old house.

OndineHis daughter eventually finds her and decides that the woman is a selkie. That is a seal which can take human form. A selkie cannot go back to the sea if her human husband finds and hides her seal coat. While Ferrell and Bachleda fall in love, you begin to think that maybe, just maybe, she really is a selkie.

The setting is beautiful and the dialogue feels both real and poetic. I listened to an interview with Ferrell and his conversation was never as lyrical although he is an intelligent man. Director Neil Jordan has made some movies focused on Irish ghosts (High Spirits) that were a waste of time. But this one carried me through even when the fear aspect took over the fairytale.

This movie has an adult context that would not be suitable for younger children. Older tweens and teens might enjoy it a bit more.

One movie that I like for younger children is Into The West. Gabriel Byrne stars as the father of two boys who are given a horse by their grandfather. This is not just any horse, this is Tír na nÓg who comes from the land under the sea that holds eternal youth. The problem is the motherless family lives in an apartment building in the slums of Dublin. Hiding a horse is quite difficult.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Worse yet, a greedy business man wants the fine horse no matter what. So he works with the police to steal the horse from the boys. But not every thing goes according to the plan. The boys steal the horse and begin riding him into the West Country of Ireland. The cops are chasing the boys down but the boys are getting help along the way. Meanwhile, other Travellers, Irish gypsies, help Dad track his boys before something dire can happen.

Again, I am lost in the mix of magic and real life. I sympathize with the depressed father who has lost his wife and wakes up only when he realizes he could lose his boys as well. I find myself cheering on the boys every time the slip out of reach of the authorities. It is movies like this that make me appreciate how magic and real life can intermingle.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Scary Movies That Fail

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

It is Halloween week. Just because it is the day or two after doesn’t mean we are going to stop watching those Halloween movies. But let’s do something different.

 

Let’s celebrate the bad movies, the lame thrillers and horror movies. Let’s celebrate those that set up rules and then not follow them. Let’s celebrate those that decided to make a movie based on a bad idea but kept going anyway because the star said he would have it no other way.

 

I am not talking about movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th. As much as I cannot watch them, I have to admire movies that are well made and consistent in their storytelling.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Let’s talk about bad movies such as DarknessFalls.  This movie has an interesting premise. An old woman is lynched after being falsely accused of harming children. But at her death she vows to come back and take children away by killing them when they lose their last baby tooth should they see her.

 

On the night Kyle loses his last baby tooth, he sees the apparition and he stays in the light. But his mother makes the mistake of stepping into a darken room and, well, what happens next is not pretty. As an adult, Kyle chooses to live in Las Vegas and he carries super duper flashlights with him at all times.

 

That is when his friend Caitlyn calls asking for help because her little brother is going through the same issues that Kyle went through. So he returns and the fun begins.

 

I like the premise of this movie because it is based on real fears of what can happen in the dark, what can happen in the places we cannot see. But here is the problem. The light issue can be hit or miss, the amount of light does not seem to matter for when the tooth fairy can get you. She starts showing up in the strangest of places.

 

Plus, some of the town’s people do not believe or even know that the Tooth Fairy exists, such as one townie that yells out “these are my woods” right before the worst that can happen, happens. The town has a curse on it and most people do not know about it? Sorry, not buying that part.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

But this movie is nothing compared to Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson. The legend of this movie is that Samuel L. Jackson loved the cheesy title so much, he would not make the movie unless the title was retained. Another interesting point is there was a lot of internet chatter about this movie with interested parties leaving plot ideas.

 

The basic plot is this: A witness against a mob boss has to fly to the trial. Of course, there are people who want to prevent this. So the plane is rigged to release a number of hungry dangerous and poisonous snakes in the belief one or more will take out the witness and confusing doctors from giving him the right antidote.

 

The agent taking the witness in is Samuel L. Jackson (playing himself) and no one should mess with this guy. Julianne Margulies is the lead stewardess who is on her last flight before heading off to med school.

 

As the cast dwindles and the flight comes close to landing, there is the pivotal moment that must happen to make every other bad moment in this movie worth sitting through.

 

Are these selections horrible? Well, yes, they are. And maybe the opportunity to make fun of them is the only good thing about these movies.

 

Do you have favorite bad movies?

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Just Who Can Hang With Harry?


Family Movie Night

Harry, Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, picture from IMDb.com

In case you have not been pay attention, next week is the opening of the latest Harry Potter movie as we move towards the end of the wizarding world saga.

Next Friday, or late Thursday night I assume, people who have followed this series will be standing in line waiting for the second to last movie. Finally we will be able to watch on the screen what we have tried to imagine in our feeble minds.

So the only thing left to do is have a Harry Potter

Marathon!!!!!!

But wait — what about appropriate viewing ages? Good point and thanks for asking because not all Harry Potter movies are for all ages of the family members.  So let’s explore each movie for best viewing ages.

 

Hermione, Harry and Ron in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Picture from IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In this movie we meet Harry and his friends, Hermione and Ron. We also see the beginnings of a great rivalry. Then there is Professor Snape whose dislike of Harry has everything to do with his father.

This introduction into the series is good for all members of the family. There are scary moments and scary creatures but those scenes are handled in a friendly manner that  makes them less scary.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Here Harry will learn one of his talents that is not popular with his school fellows. With the Chamber of Secrets opened, it is a race to save Hogwarts from a threat that could destroy the student population.

What is scary is a series of events leading to discover who opened the door to the chamber. This movie is still appropriate for early grade school students with some fun scenes dealing with magical creatures.

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, IMDb com

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A highly dangerous prisoner from the wizard’s prison has escaped and he may be coming for Harry. While third year students can go to Hogsmeade, the only completely wizarding village in Great Britain, Harry could not get permission from Uncle Vernon.

This movie shows the series starting on a path of darkness, with fear becoming a part of the norm. It is a film that is best suited for pre-teen kids and up as there are themes that need greater maturity to understand, such as long-held hatred and a need for revenge.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

I believe this chapter of the story is the last one that is suitable for anyone under the age of 13. There is a constant mood of fear as Harry competes in a contest to find the ultimate magical champion. We meet students from other schools as well as some very scary creatures. What Harry and Cedric face at the end of the movie can be terrifying to younger viewers under the age of ten.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Lord Voldemort, Picture from IMDb.com

These last two movies are best for the teens, especially those who have been reading the series all along. The fear level is intense in both movies as Lord Voldomort is back and ready to rule the world. The action scenes are potent and lives will be lost, people we have grown very attached. I do not recommend these two movies or the one coming out to younger viewers because I do not believe their maturity level can handle the fear, the sadness, the manic need to do something against the tide of evil.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, picture from IMDb.com

If I am wrong, please let me know and I will include your opinion in next week’s column.

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