Tag Archive: sandra bullock


A Little Bit of a Scare

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Just because it is the Halloween season, doesn’t mean you have to watch a super scary movie.

Sometimes a hint of the supernatural is all it takes to be satisfied. I know I prefer my scary movies to have a bit of humor in them. Or maybe I prefer to have comedies or dramedies with a touch of horror.

practical-magic-collageOne of my favorite movies to watch this time of year is Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Who knew back in 1998 that we were watching two future Oscar winners. This movie could be described as a comedy because there are comedic elements. It could be a drama because there are moments of clarity and emotional introspection.

The supernatural element as both comedy and serious moments to the movie. The story is about two sisters who are dealing with the early deaths of their parents in different ways. Sally wanted nothing more than to be normal with love and a family. She had all of that until her husband died in a freak accident that some felt was because of the family curse.

Gillian is the party girl. She is searching for love far from home, looking for that one man who can withstand the curse. And she finds that man, strong enough to withstand the curse but evil in other ways.

While this might be a movie you can watch with girl friends or older teens, I would not watch this movie with younger kids. There is too much content that is adult oriented as we go from grief to dealing with an abusive situation to casual swearing for some but serious to others.

But for adults, it is a fun movie. It resolves into an ending we want with the hope of renewal,

BewitchedNow if you are looking for something with more comedy in the supernatural realm, try Bewitched starring Nicole Kidman as Samantha. Kidman portrays a witch trying to be mortal. But she finds herself being discovered by a Hollywood star trying to reclaim his shine with a new version of the old TV show.

This is not a perfect movie but it is a lot of fun. Kidman and the witchy crew have real rapport amongst them. It is when we have Will Ferrell taking first place that we feel the film slow down and be less funny or interesting. However, when he is with Kidman his timing is better. The character becomes more believable. The movie really shines whenever Kidman and Michael Caine share the screen. Their chemistry as father and daughter really sparkles, I could have watched them all day long.

This movie can be watched by middle school and older children. Some of the situations or language will not be appropriate or perhaps content-wise at their level. This is another movie to watch with the girlfriends while you guys nosh and talk and laugh.

Harry, Ron and Hermione HP&SS IMDb com

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

If you are looking for something lighthearted to watch with kids, there is always the first Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It is this movie that introduces us to the wizarding world, asking us to see and hear all of the wonders. Yes, there are scary moments such as when the kids fight the troll and battle the various challenges at the end. But there are many times when it feels as if we are being asked to join in the fun. And who can resist that?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Ocean’s Eight

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I love a good caper movie.

I love it when everything works, bringing surprises in the end to a happy conclusion.

And when I first saw the trailer for Ocean’s Eight last year I knew I wanted to see it.

Sandra Bullock has gone from that slightly insecure but highly competent girl to someone in total control of her life. She is cooler than cool, even while walking down a New York city street with a simple ponytail on her head.

Her partner in crime is Cate Blanchette, a multi-award winning actress who is a night club owner that likes to water down her vodka.

After serving five years for a crime she alone did not commit, Debbie Ocean is looking for some money, something that will keep her happy for years to come.

Ocean needs help and soon that team is assembled from the most competent female masters of crime in NYC. And if they get a little more out of the deal than they bargained for, well, that’s all right.

This is a movie that is stylish and keen on the job they are about to complete. The women look great no matter what style of dress they employ.

As much as I liked this movie – and I really wanted to like it – there was something missing. These women were so good at what they do but there seemed to be missing some key chemistry. I didn’t buy all of the friendships. I didn’t feel enough camaraderie amongst the women. But nor did I see how some would not get along or their lives picked to death by their co-horts.

What worked was the pieces of the crime and how they all fell into place. That part was quite enjoyable as different characters began to shine, especially when faced with an arranged marriage. But it would have been great to see some of them, if not all, to have a more human touch.

In any case, my daughter and I really enjoyed this movie. At no point did either of us feel embarrassed by anything going on the screen. We have come across movies or TV show that we thought we would enjoy and it turned out we were both hugely embarrassed.

That wasn’t this movie. We really enjoyed it and I got a kick out of the soundtrack. There were jazz pieces, and classical bits that sounded fresh and revived. It is definitely a girl friend movie. But it also makes you think what would one plan for if they had five years to do it.

I hate using the word ‘revelation’ because it is a sloppy and lazy word. But that is what Sandra Bulock, in this role of a very thoughtful and confident woman. Sarah Paulsen also standouts as the woman who can organize anything. If she was real, I would pay her to organize my life.

Would I go see this movie again? Absolutely, because no woman or man can resist the charm of our characters as they pull of more that we expected while being exceedingly cool.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Ending the Season

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The Christmas Season is almost over. Some of you might be celebrating later because of work schedules or travel schedules or various events.

Been there, done that.

christalkindl-marketThis past weekend we finally squeezed in a visit to the Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza. The traditional German Christmas market is one I have longed to go to and not just because parts of my family are German.

I love the smells of roasting nuts and mulled wine. There were sausages, potato pancakes, and hot apple cider. There were beautiful knits from Germany, Ireland, and Guatemala. I saw incredible wooden works of arts including a Santa nut cracker. One booth offered up embroidered table scarves that were quite stunning.

The entire village was lighted in beautiful yellow glowing twinkle lights. The effect was magical under the watchful eye of the Picasso statue. We had a long walk back to the car but the market was totally worth it and I can’t wait to go back again next year.

while-you-were-sleepingBut now that the season is almost over, if you haven’t watched certain movies, this is your last chance before it feels a little weird and out of place. You might want to get While You Were Sleeping out of the way. This Sandra Bullock movie is about a lonely CTA worker who saves her favorite customer from being run over by train.

In order to see him at the hospital, she lies about being his fiancee so that she can visit with him. Unfortunately, Peter Gallagher is unconscious and unaware he has a fiancee. Then his family show up and embrace Lucy as family. The woman, who had no one but her cat and a wannabe boyfriend, suddenly is surrounded by family and has a stocking on the mantle with her name on it. It is a heady experience which gets complicated when she meets his brother, Bill Pullman.

Now you know what happens next. It is pretty clear. For me, this time the journey is totally worth the ride. Our heroine is sweet but a little goofy. Her main love interest is gruff and wanting out of the family business. And the supporting cast is phenomenal, especially the old family friend who has to tell the patient he is a putz.

But I love it. It makes me laugh and cry. There are sweet moments and funny one. There are times that I swear I know which neighborhood each scene was filmed in and others that make me wish for the dreamland of LaGrange.

In case this movie is too happy, too sappy, too girly there is always the Die Hard series.

Yippe-ki-yay, indeed.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Movies for Scardy Cats

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

At this time of year, what you are going to find are lots of scary movies. Movies about Vampires, Zombies, monsters, and serial killers.

But that is what happens in October, we get movies about crazed clowns and psychotic killers.

Not all of us are up for that. Seriously, I can handle only so many scary movies before I am done. I need levity and a bit of laughter along with my scares and creepy-crawly moments.

That explains why every Halloween season, I find myself watching Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. The story is about two sisters who come from a long line of witches whom appear to be cursed. Their husbands die young and usually there is a warning song from a beetle.

practical-magic-collageIt doesn’t help that the women are incredibly beautiful and some are heart breakers. Sally (Bullock) is beautiful but wants to stay close to home. She dreams of a normal life and had a deep love for her husband and their two daughters. That happiness is destroyed when he dies young. Jilly (Kidman) is a bit of a heart breaker and runs away from home at 18 to find the guy who can withstand the curse.

But one day Jilly meets that guy and he turns out to be something more than a regular guy. Soon the two women are dealing with a problem bigger than they can handle, denying the truth to their witchy aunts. Things get worse when a handsome detective from Arizona arrives to solve a missing person’s case.

This movie has some very serious moments about the supernatural, possession, and not messing with that you don’t understand or disrespect. There are funny moments as well when the four women have a margarita party or during a scene in Sally’s botanical soap and lotion shop.

This is a great scary movie for scardy cats like me because humor is scattered all over this movie. There are the ghostly parts and then there is funny or romantic scenes. It is not a good movie to watch around little ones, better for teens and older or those of us adults who want to watch something a little scary and a little sexy.

love-at-first-biteThis lead me to think about Love at First Bite with George Hamilton and Susan St. James. While I am sure there are some funny moments to this movies, it is not one I want to watch and nor can I recommend. Hamilton is more famous for his tan than his acting abilities.

I can only suggest this movie about a vampire who loses his Transylvanian home and moves to New York as a possible movie to riff on with your friends as you watch it. The vampire’s goal is to find the woman who looks like his long lost love who is now in New York City working as a supermodel. Just three bites and he can make her his forever. That is if the grandson of Van Helsing doesn’t kill him first.

Like I said, this movie is great for being ridiculed. All you need is popcorn and a smart-aleck friend to get the ball rolling. Perhaps a drinking game can be made with it.  I am going to guess that by the end of the movie what you will be horrified by is the badness of this plot which is better than being horrified because of one gruesome murder after another in my book.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Political Yarn

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

In these weeks of political focus, two conventions deciding our presidential candidates, I have been thinking about those movies that dip into that realm.

Perhaps it is me but I see politics and societal commentary everywhere from the recent kid movie Zooptopia to blatant political satire of Our Brand is Crisis.

Our Brand is CrisisThis latest movie starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock is about a broken political consultant who prefers to work on pottery in a backwoods home. But she is pulled back into the game to help a South American politician win the presidency of his country.

She is not only battling the personality of a politician she doesn’t like but also a competitor helping the other (and perhaps) better candidate. This is the story of a woman battling depression, addiction issues, and altitude sickness to help a candidate she is being paid to help. What she does for her employer is not always pretty and in the end, she has to decide if she can live with her actions.

It is a good solid movie that is not meant for young children with its swearing and violence. Then again, children might be bored with the adult context of the movie.

wag the dogAnother movie that might bore them to pieces is Wag The Dog starring Robert DeNiro as a political operative who needs to create a distraction for his boss, the POTUS, who may or may not have been inappropriate with a girl scout-like group. So he brings in movie producer Dustin Hoffman to create that distraction involving a potential war in Albania.

It is a big boondoggle of a set up that could give a movie producer bragging rights for years or at least a really great story if only he could tell the story. Which he can’t because it is all top secret. Is this scenario possible? I don’t know but sometimes when I watch the latest scandal, in the back of my mind I am always wondering if this is the tail of the story or the real meat of it all.

Again, not a great movie for kids with it’s low key action and some bad words. Even adults who prefer a lot of action will probably be bored by this movie. But I love it for every actor, including musician Willie Nelson, who moved out of their comfort zone to give great performances making fun of a process that needs to be ridiculed.

mr smith does to washingtonFinally, if you have not seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Jimmy Stewart, perhaps you should. This 1939 Frank Capra is a classic about a politically naive man who is appointed to the Senate and wages a war against corruption. He even runs a filibuster to make sure right is the law of the land and not big money.

For me it is how politicians go to Washington, how they leave depends on the evil they do to others. With great speeches and tremendous acting Stewart and Claude Rains put together a movie that searches for the true meaning of political action that is meant to help the rest of the citizens, not harm them.,

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.