Tag Archive: mark wahlberg


Make’ em laugh

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When life gets hectic, all I really want to do is laugh.

I want to laugh until my sides hurt.

Lately, I have found myself angry and tired of seeing people with guns going into schools and shoot up whoever they can find. I am tired of there being no answers, no solutions, and nonsensical arguments being bandied about.

So I look for comedies to distract and make fun of the world.

Arsenic and Old Lace posterI grabbed a few comedies the other week with Arsenic and Old Lace (1941) being at the top of the pile. This classic stars Cary Grant as a theater critic who loudly stated in the past he has no intention of marrying – ever. That is until he falls in love with the girl next door, Priscilla Lane. They wed at city hall but before going on their honeymoon, Grant wants to tell his two aunts. They are the sweetest ladies who do much charitable work in Brooklyn.

And he will, right after they discuss the dead man in the window seat AND his homicidal brother’s return to town AND the bodies in the basement AND elderberry wine. All of this happens on Halloween night.

It is silly and goofy and completely over the top. Cary Grant thought this was one of his worst performances. Pearl Harbor occurred during the shooting of the movie, and Director Frank Capra meant to make more edits before he left to join the armed services. But he never did tone it down.

They story is fun, the action is quick, and the fight scene between the brother and the police is enough to make one laugh a few belly laughs.

But in case you want something a bit more modern, there is always Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. These two crazy kids are a couple who fear they have fallen into a rut, especially after close friends tell them the friends are getting divorced.

Date Night posterSo on their usual date night, Tina and Steve push their boundaries. They dress up a little more, go into NYC to a hot new restaurant for a meal, and take someone else’s reservation. But of course there is a problem, these things always lead to problems. It appears that the couple who did not show for the reservation is holding on to something belonging to a criminal figure.

And as the night goes on this couple has to figure out how to stay one step ahead of bad police guys, find the couple, get the flash drive, get help from super security guy Mark Wahlberg, and get home in time to pay the babysitter. Oh, and stay alive.

This is not a movie for those people who do not like swearing. It can get raunchy at times and definitely not for kids. That’s ok because sometimes couples need a break from the routine and watch something meant for adults. I always liked this movie for being both preposterous in the action and deeply honest in the interaction between this couple.

It might be one of the few romantic comedies that features car chases and shoot outs before the ending resolves into happy-ever-after.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Loving Stanley

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Transformers Age of ExtinctionSo this past weekend, our youngest made a point of watching Transformers: Age of Extinction. Baseball is finished and the boy had a friend over spending the night.

All that was left to do was make popcorn and salt it down.

In this version, Optimus Prime has become an outlaw in the minds of the American people and the government. In the opening scenes, we see Rachet hunted and killed by soldiers and different creature, Lockdown, willing to tear apart the metallic creatures for scrap.

It is sad and disheartening.

That is till we find out Optimus Prime is alive and hiding out. Once he is ‘found’ by a poor mechanic/inventor played by Mark Wahlberg, it is only a matter of time before havoc is wreaked upon the lives of all humans who try to help him.

So I am watching because I find the special effects in these movies just fascinating. We are watching metal beings have fights but in reality they are computer programs. But then I noticed something else. There are some good actors in this movie. People such as Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci.

I can hear it now. Kelsey Grammer? That guy who played the snobby psychiatrist for nearly 20 years? Yes, I do mean him because he plays a great villain. Grammar uses his deep voice and hulking manner to make us fearful of him. We know that he is always in complete control and that control might mean the end of someone else’s life.

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

It was seeing Tucci that really made me stand up and notice. I mean this is a guy who repeatedly works in some of the best movies of our day. He works with Merle Streep because he can keep up with her. But every now and then I have seen him in cheesy action/adventure movies like the Transformers.

It makes me wonder why he does it. My personal theory is that after a very dramatic role that takes a high amount of energy, it is fun to perform in these movies that require much physical exertion and the chance to pop off fun one-liners. Stanley Tucci works in high profile movies such as The Hunger Games, The Lovely Bones, Julie and Julia. I have seen him in light-hearted fare such as Shall We Dance and Maid in Manhattan. I have also seen Tucci do action adventure in The Core.

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

You know what? It is worth it every time. He makes bad movie better just by showing up.

Tucci has perfected self centered characters. But he can be powerful and good-hearted. It doesn’t what type of character he is playing, I just want to watch him to see what his choices will be in whatever project he is working because it is always interesting and compelling. No matter what, I always believe him in whatever role he is playing.

That is the sign of a good actor.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

And On To The Oscars

Family Movie Night

This past weekend saw the Golden globes hand out their awards and next will be various guilds until we get to Oscar Night!

As a movie person, I get really excited about this night and I feel bad when I have not seen all of the movies. But this year I am taking the bulls by the horn. 

Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," picture from IMDb.com

 As of the 18th, you can start your rental road to the Oscars with Golden Globe Best Movie winner, The Social Network.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as the Harvard student who came up with Facebook. This is how he wheeled and dealed (sort of), lost friends, gained business associates and became the youngest billionaire.

 All the critics have raved about this movie, talking about Eisenberg’s  accurate portrayal and Justin Timberlake’s incredible performance. As much as I do not know about computer programming, I want to see this movie for the story.

 Another movie that is destined for a Best Movie nomination is Inception starring Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by

Leonardo Di Caprio in "Inception," picture from IMDb.com

Christopher Nolan. The story is about a man who can steal ideas as people are sleeping. However, Di Caprio is not able to go home to his children. That is when he is offered a deal to plant a suggestion in someone’s head in exchange for redemption.

 What makes this movie fascinating, besides the premise alone, is the special effects of the ever-changing dream world. With a tug of the hand scenes can instantly change. It is incredible to watch along with the emotionally charged story. I was able to get through one hour before I had to turn it off. I plan to rent this movie again.

Grown-up Andy looking at his favorite toys, Picture from IMDb.com

Finally, I hope that Toy Story 3 will get nominated for Best Picture although I suspect it will be placed in Best Animation as a consolation prize. I find this movie to be a thrilling story of growing up, regrets, a little action adventure and, finally, rebirth.

 Now if none of these movies appeal, let me suggest The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two NYPD detectives who hate each other. Luck shines on the caustic partners as they discover a case that could make them into the big-time cops they dream of being.

This is a PG-13 movie, not suitable for the younger members of the family. It looks like a whole lot of fun besides the opportunity to ogle Mark Wahlberg’s abs that were put into shape as he got ready for The Fighter.

Will Ferrell and the hot, hot, hot Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys," picture from IMDb.com

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