Tag Archive: hugh jackman


Series Enders

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When you watch a movie that is the end of a series, there are a few things you can count on.

The action will be intense. This is the end and what action we see needs to be more than anything else we have seen. More blood, more gore, more creepy characters than ever before.

The emotions will be intense. This characters are dealing with issues of life and death. They know whatever is happening could be the end and they feel the need to sum up their life and their actions to conclude if they have lead a good life. What is their legacy?

While watching Logan, I knew the movie would be more intense as the husband and two boys went to see it in theaters. I did not and now I am glad because I needed to be able to walk out of the room at the worst bloody messes.

LoganThe year is 2029, mutants are nearly extinct. Logan and Dr. X live near the Mexican border in a fairly deserted outpost. Dr. X is suffering from seizure disorder and needs heavy medicines to keep the (deadly for others) seizures from happening. Then Logan is found by people on both sides of a mutant factory.

He agrees to take a girl to a destination in South Dakota, slowly discovering her mutant powers are just like his. But people are following her. They don’t care whom they harm. It gets bloody and nasty on a regular basis.

Along the way, Logan confronts the effects of his comic book heroism that have left a mark on the world. Once again, he pretends not to care about others but in the end we know where his heart lies.

It is a movie that is gritty, heartbreaking, and confrontational. There are not many happy moments, not that are ever many in an X-Men movie. But for those squeamish-at-heart, this will be a difficult movie. There are lots of bloody action scenes and heart breaking emotional scenes in which innocents are killed for no good reason.

Mockingjay part 2I felt this way as I watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2. Thrown back into the dystopian society of Panem, Katniss is determined to assassinate President Snow for the torture suffered by Peeta. She chooses to be the Mockingjay, symbol of the rebellion to a society that takes joy in keeping down the masses.

But it is during this time that Katniss also becomes distrustful of President Coin of the 13th district. Is this a person Katniss can trust? Is Coin’s desire for a free Panem an honest wish or is it hiding the desire for absolute power?

Katniss chooses to sneak into the capitol and is immediately recognized by the crowds and Gale. Soon, there is a troop of the best fighters, ready to help Katniss. And she needs it as they face a city booby trapped with awful killing devices and mutants.

While this movie has slicker production values than the previous movies in the Hunger Games series, it must also deal with thornier ethical issues. What is proper behavior during war? Is it right to bring good people into your fight, knowing they could die? How do you deal with a leader you are not sure of being a completely good person?

Perhaps because I am older and watching friends’ parents die along with their siblings, I feel the emotion of death being closer than ever before. I have those questions about my legacy and if I was good enough or worthy that Logan and Katniss ask themselves in these two movies.

It is one thing to ask these questions when death is a far off idea and another when it feels as if it could happen any time. Logan and Katnis both know death is a certainty in the near future for them which is why these two movies are intense emotionally.

Both had scenes which made me leave the room and feel frightened. Both made me wince at the emotional pain of each character. But there is no doubt in my mind I would watch each one again so that maybe my mind could wrap itself around the idea of finality.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Lately, I have been reading books and watching movies about the Holocaust. What saddens me the most about this time period is the absolute hatred for Jews that seemed to go beyond hating Jewish Bolsheviks, it went beyond the desire to have a pure Aryan race. It was an evil that went beyond the need to be right no matter what.

I saw this in The Book Thief, I read about it in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. In the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva I see the long term effects of being a Holocaust survivor – whether it is you or a family member.

XMen Days of Future PastHowever, this past weekend the husband and I went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. Suddenly, we were right back in a holocaust of those who are different. I know the title sounds like some horrible grammar rule gone crazy but the story requires that you suspend disbelief at all costs.

As the movie starts, we see a world in which mutants are hunted down by giant robots called Sentinals. But as with any campaign to eradicate one group, it stops being about only those creatures and includs anyone who aids them or are related. We see piles and piles of bodies and bones in a darkened world in which Sentinals have the ability to use any skill from any mutant.

They were created by a scientist named Trask who used DNA and other tissue from Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). It is at this point that Professor X/Charles (Patrick Stewart), Magneto/Erik (Ian McKellan), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Storm (Halle Berry) find a lone surviving group of mutants who can escape the Sentinals on a regular basis using a form of time travel.

That is when Charles and Erik come up with a crazy plan to send Charles back in time to talk to his younger self. When it is deemed that Charles would not make the trip, Wolverine goes in his stead. This is when things get really strange as Wolverine eventually meets up with a younger Charles and Beast, plan to break Erik out of prison (it’s complicated), and stop Mystique.

I found this to be an interesting movie, slow only in a few parts, and yet able to laugh at itself. The acting is top tier by the key players of Jackman, Stewart, McKellan, Michaeal Fassbander, James McAvoy and Lawrence. The special effects for this movie are outstanding. My favorite moment has to be when Quicksilver stops an attack during the prison break scene to the soundtrack of Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. That might be the last time we have a good laugh but it is a fascinating scene.

It is a dark movie that I would not recommend for kids under the age of ten because I don’t think they are going to understand the total context of this movie. We live in an age where scary things happen but not like this in which neighbors and family members might turn you in for being ‘different.’

Nazi Germany would have never happened without the fear of wondering if you would be next to disappear, to be marched to death camps, or killed before your family’s eyes. Especially if you had spent the last several years watching this happen to neighbors and friends or anyone who disagreed with the powers that be.

The X-Men have always had the Holocaust as an undercurrent, that those dark times could and will return. It is that fear which permeates the movie, making it compelling and terrifying all at the same time.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Sing It, Anne, Sing It!

Family Movie Night

One of the great things about being a parent is all of the things we do with our kids.

Just this past weekend, we went to the RV and Boat Show at McCormick Place. There the kids climbed on boats, tramped through RV’s, and planned a life of camping as we looked at pop-ups.

Sara and Sam had fun jumping and running in a floating tube while David explored a Coast Guard boat. All of us marveled at beautiful wooden boats.

On Saturday, the kids insist we have a picnic outside while the weather was still warm. We watched the colder temperatures roll in with darker clouds but for that moment we ate our lunch outside. Who does that in January in a northern state?

Later that same day, I took in a movie with a girlfriend.

This was not a movie meant for small kids. And sometimes that’s OK, parents should have movies that are meant just for them. Sometimes we want adult situations, adult context and content. Some of us adults want music and soaring vocals to accompany a grand story.

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserable, image from IMDb.com

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserable, image from IMDb.com

Les Miserables is a movie about the poor in post -revolutionary France. Life is hard and unforgiving of mistakes made in your youth. Victor Hugo created conflicted characters, people who do wrong in the hope they are helping to do right.

We have characters who acknowledge their sins, characters who believe they are acting correctly in all circumstances. There is a political power struggle and love-at-first sight. We see unrequited love and a parent’s love for a child that pushes a woman to the brink.

The story starts with men working as slaves to bring in a big ship that has been damaged. But the focus goes on one prisoner who is about to go free on parole. That man is Jean Valjean, imprisoned for stealing bread and trying to escape.

His greatest moment of salvation comes when a priest forgives his sins, even after being released from jail and stealing from the church. But the greatest love of his life starts when he agrees to take care of a child left behind by a former employee.

We will have battles of will, battles of faith, battles against the harsh realities of life. Mixed in all that are horrifying moments when a woman loses her pride, a man loses his purpose, another realizes that he was only taking care of a child before she found her true love. And then they sing about how their hearts are broken and love did not go the way they had hoped.

Just when it gets too heavy, we have Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter to lighten things up as the inn keepers who are willing to lighten their customers’ pockets.

So is this movie worth your time? Is it Oscar worthy?

Yes IF you are a fan of musicals. Yes IF you do not mind sitting through a two and a half hour movie. Yes IF you do not mind going through a slow spot. Yes IF you love great singing and acting from Hugh Jackman.

If you prefer chase scenes, explosions, and fighting with weapons such as swords I am going to disappoint you and let you know those things to not happen in this movie.

If you are looking for commentary on the human condition, if you are looking for a testimony of faith, if you want to see a person die with dignity then this is the Oscar-nominated movie you have been waiting for.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Something Blue

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

I am on a quest to lose weight.

 

With a family history of diabetes, I am working to build better habits now to ensure that I will have them later.

 

One tool I used to record my workouts is the Noom app I found on my smart phone.

 

Gratuitous picture of Hugh Jackman from IMDb.com

For the workout portion of the program, I can see how many steps I took, my distance, time and rate of speed. It will also map my route using the gps device. During the walk, it even talks to me in an English accent.

 

I call this voice ‘Hugh” because it reminds me of Hugh Laurie from the TV show “House” and Hugh Jackman. I set the volume for Hugh at the loudest rate possible so that I can hear it, especially if Storm decides to chase a squirrel or bird or another dog.

 

So when it came to this week’s column, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we watched the latest Hugh Jackman movie, Real Steal, and tie this all together. But luck or fate was not with us. While I kept the dog outside (there is no way Larry wants my dog running around his store and I am not paying the outrageous food bill that dog will amass), my daughter went in to get the movie.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

“The bad news is Real Steal was out,” she said upon coming out of the store. “But I got The Smurfs instead.” There was excitement in her face and I was feeling so disappointed. I did not want to watch tiny blue people on my relaxing Friday night, I wanted Hugh Jackman.

 

The thing is, once the movie came into the house and the other members heard that the movie of the night was The Smurfs, they were pretty happy. Then friends showed up to watch the movie. I made four pizzas and the husband was lucky to get one piece. I was lucky to get two pieces and I was in the house from the beginning.

 

The movie is about how Gargamel (Hank Azaria) brings the Smurfs to New York City in order to steal their power. It is a long drawn out plan that involves leaf blowers and a castle in Central Park .

 

Somehow, the smurfs connect with Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays). Well, sooner or later, everyone figures out what needs to happen to get the smurfs back to their own world and take care of business in New York . Papa Smurf, as voiced by Jonathon Winters, gives sage advice to the expectant father and Smurfette (Katy Perry) bonds with Grace, the only other girl she has ever met.

 

The kids loved it. They had a good time watching this movie while I wondered how many times Neil Patrick Harris called his agent and screamed. OK, the sequence in which he went off on the continual use of the word ‘smurf’ was good but the hugs at the end were unnecessary.

 

All I can say is that it is a safe movie for kids to watch alone and they will enjoy it. It is not something I am planning to ever watch again.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.