Thursday, October 16, 2014

In which I share my review of BOYHOOD and share some big personal news...

Movie Trailer "Boyhood"

Go ahead and play the soundtrack while you read on...

Not a big fan of Richard Linklater.  Didn't get the Before Midnight, After Sunset films.  So I skipped driving to Kansas City for the screening of his latest film "Boyhood."  I just knew I would hate it.  But it is getting so much buzz (Currently listed as a front runner for both Best Picture AND Best Director), I felt like I got kicked out of the cool kids club.  I contacted the studio and asked for the screener.  One of the best deisions of my life.

Boyhood is one of the most amazing movies I have ever watched.  I was mesmerized.  

Obviously I wasn't the only one.

"Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting." Written by IFC Films


Now let me try and put this into my own words:  We can talk about the fact that Linklater used the same actors and filmed them over a 12 year period - Mind.  Blown.  The performances in this film were so fantastic - both Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are getting early Oscar buzz for their Best Supporting Roles.  Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater was both so perfect - to these children the cameras must have been invisible.  It is hard to believe they were acting.

Alot of movies use music to transport the viewer to a different time and place - but this movie took it to a whole new level.  It was spot on.  I really felt like I was in a time machine.  (I hope you are listening to the soundtrack right now - if not - go grab it up at the top!)

Watching life unfold through the eyes of a child over the span of 12 years was difficult.  As a mother, it broke my heart.  It was very personal for me.  I myself have taken my own children on one crazy ride and  constantly worry about how badly I might have screwed them up.

There are a few adults who treat these children like absolute crap - but there are double the number of adults who are their heroes.  That may be what touched me the most.  Life is hard - we have to make decisions with very little guidance and these decisions are like dominoes.  But as long as we have the constant love of our parents and siblings, we will be just fine.

Ethan Hawke & Patricia Arquette, playing Mason's parents, amazed me at how they took their characters on this journey - they were not perfect parents, but man they tried so hard.  The way they interacted with these kids - they absolutely felt like a real family.

It was a soul searching, beautiful movie that didn't need a dramatic twist or an over the top ending.   It is a real human life shown through the brilliant lens of Linklater,  set to a spectacular soundtrack that will make you drop everything in your life and take a trip down your own memory lane.

You do not want to miss this one.  

Now - my personal note I mentioned.  On Saturday I was accepted into the Broadcast Film Critics Association.  This is a dream come true for me.  I love sharing my passion for film with my family and friends.  It is my hope to share it with an even bigger audience now.  I look forward to voting for the Critics Choice Awards this year, and attending the Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles in January.  Thank you for your part in encouraging me along the way!  Don't ever give up on your dreams!  :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Love Is Strange (John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei)

                                   "Heartbreaking…Exceptionally Beautiful.   
                                            One of the Best Films of the Year
                                        – Dennis Dermody, Paper Magazine”

 After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and - victims of the relentless New York City real estate market - temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bunk bed. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements. Written by Sony Pictures Classics


It’s been a while since I fell in love with a movie's soundtrack as much as the movie itself, but that is what happened to me with "Love is Strange".  Lithgow and Molina played off the music with perfection.  The love and fear in the characters eyes was in perfect harmony with each background piece.  

John Lithgow was an absolute joy to watch - such vulnerability - such love - he really impressed.  Molina gave an outstanding performance as well. Lithgow's Ben seemed frail and optimistic, to which Molina's George seemed more aware of the mountains they were facing.    Marisa Tomei doesn't disappoint (but she never disappoints me - I'm a big fan) 

On the downside, I was disappointed in the performance of Darren Burroughs - an actor hailing from Kansas who I really wanted to love (I was a big fan of him on Northern Exposure.  Did anyone else notice the priest was played by Northern Exposure alum John Cullum?)  Burroughs seemed to be reading directly from a teleprompter at times...I just wasn't feeling it.

Watching this story unfold reminded me of how far we have come in respecting each others right to love who we love – but how far we have yet to go.  For me, it was extremely frustrating to watch the Catholic Church  stand in judgment over these wonderful men.  (That's all I am going to say about that)

There were a few story lines that didn't seem necessary, and were never really resolved (French book thefts?  Is Elliot having an affair?)  Maybe their answers lay somewhere on an editing room floor. 

One of my favorite scenes is the "bar scene" in which Ben spins a tale to the gorgeous bartender who in turn buys Ben & George a drink.  A dear childhood friend of mine plays that sexy bartender, our own Michael J. Burg.

Over all, I loved it.  I cried twice  - and there is nothing I love more than a good cry during a beautiful love story.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gone Girl

As a big fan of the novel "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, I couldn't wait to see the movie.  Blogger @thatiswhatsheread and I have been talking about it for MONTHS.

When the trailer came out - our excitement could hardly be contained.  


When the screening invite arrived in my email, I couldn't call her fast enough to secure the date.  She texted me to say she had a conflict - very sketchy.  I couldn't believe she was ditching me - it is all we had talked about.  Fast forward to the Monday screening date, and she is on a beach somewhere on her honeymoon, following a surprise elopement.  I guess I can forgive her.  

OK - back to the movie...

Here's the problem with books being turned into movies.  If you read the book, you already know the storyline and how the story will end (as long as the movie stays true to the book).  Sometimes, this can really add to the movie experience.  The anticipation of the romance or a beautiful ending is really, really fun.  Knowing the villain is going to "get  his" feels very satisfying as you sit in the theater.  (Like you have a big secret that you can't share - you can tell who read the book by the smirks on all the faces in the dark room.)  But when a book such as Gone Girl - full of  twists and turns and unexpected plot changes - hits the big screen,  it has to be intense.  Even though we know the story, we still want to be surprised and entertained.  We don't literally want to "watch the book". 

First, the good news.  Rosamund Pike & Ben Affleck both gave fantastic performances.  (Indiewire lists Pike as a "Strong Contender" for a Best Actress Nod, while Ben shows up as their #12 pick)
Surprisingly, Gone Girl shows up as the #10 Best Picture contender.  

Director David Fincher doesn't disappoint in the shocking/gore factor.  One scene and one scene only - but it is there.  In all it's gory detail.  Lots of gasps in the theater that's for sure.

The bad news - I didn't love it.  My SO went to the screening with me, and he had not read the book. His review?  It was "ok".  Not a glowing review either.  For me, it felt way too safe.  I hate to say this, but it almost felt like a Lifetime movie rather than a blockbuster.  This book just blew my mind - one of my favorites of all time - so the movie could have went there - it could have went over the edge (remember Fincher's Seven!?!) but it didn't.  It just sat there - right on the edge of the cliff - but never really jumped off.

Sorry- I really, really wanted to love it - I promise I did.  I hope you do!   I am not saying "don't waste your money" but I am saying don't go in with too high of expectations.  And for God's sake, if you haven't read the book yet - JUST DON'T DO IT!!!

Follow me on facebook and twitter @take2review 
Tune in to KQTV every Thursday to Live at Five for my weekly movie reviews.

I would love to hear from you!

The Good Lie

Last week I had the honor of attending the Red Carpet Premier of "The Good Lie" in Olathe, KS.

Not everyone has heard about this movie - and if you have, I am sure you heard "it's a Reese Witherspoon movie."  This is a fantastic movie - and a very important one.  Check out the trailer:

I was able to speak with one of the films stars Ger Duany.  It's a good thing I met him BEFORE I saw the movie.  Had I waited until after, I probably would have acted a fool and hugged him and started bawling.

Duany was born in Sudan & was forcefully recruited as a child soldier.  At the age of 14 he fled Sudan and finally reached the United States at age 16.  He is an actor and international model and tells his own personal story in the documentary "Ger:  To Be Separate".

Tune into KQTV Thursday during Live@Five to watch our interview.

This movie was wonderful.  The actors - like Ger above - are true Sudanese Refugees - their emotions were so real - man it was powerful stuff.

Everyone should go see this movie - take your families - have important discussions afterwards.

We as Americans are so incredibly blessed.  We really have no idea.

Follow me on facebook and twitter @take2review 
Tune in to KQTV every Thursday to Live at Five for my weekly movie reviews.

I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Books Hitting The Big Screen

This is my beautiful middle daughter, Jen Herron:

She has what some might call "an obsession" with books.  It started when she was very young, probably about the time she looked like this....

.....and she never went ANYWHERE without a book in her hand. 

It makes me super proud to report she followed her dream and became a writer.

Lucky for me she chose to make today's Blog Post about Movies. 

So without further ado, and without ANY WORK on my part, I give you "Books Hitting The Big Screen" by Jen Herron.

That's What She Read - Books Hitting The Big Screen

I hope you enjoy!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Divergent - Hunger Games Big Sister

In Divergent, set in a Dystopian Chicago of the future, teenagers are given a choice to stay with what is familiar to them, or switch to a completely different life, or “faction” to put it in futuristic terms. Once a choice is made, there is no going back.

Divergent - Official Trailer

Tris, played by the talented Shailene Woodley, & her fellow dauntless newbies fight to survive a highly competitive initiation. They must undergo extreme physical and intense psychological tests, transforming them all.  

Just like Hunger Games, Divergent is also based on a best-selling young adult trilogy. I am sure writer Veronica Roth is pleased with the outcome.  

Shailene Woodley plays one tough cookie.Kate Winslet does a respectable job in her first “bad guy” role of her career, playing Jeanine (an answer to Hunger Games Gamemaker role, if you will...)  It’s also fun to see Ashley Judd again.  Playing Tris' mother, she looks lovely as ever and is just as bad ass as she was in Double Jeopardy some 15 years ago.

I promise fans of the book will not be disappointed when they finally come face to face with the legendary Four, perfectly played by the hunky Theo James.  

He rocks in this role.  It is quite easy to see why Tris is so easily distracted by her would be trainer.

It’s a great story that translates well onto the big screen. It really makes you take stock of the person you want to become.  If given the choice, would you walk away from your life for a chance to start over alone, knowing you could never go back?

Divergent will not disappoint, whether you have read the book or not, it is a fun movie to watch.

But be warned if you are afraid of heights, be prepared for lots of shut eye.  Watching it in Imax was almost more than I could take!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Let's Hope this is the Last Vegas.

I was very excited to finally see Last Vegas - such a fantastic cast!  Busy with my Oscar chasing, I had to wait until now to catch it on Redbox.  
Cue the "WAH WAH WAH".  
Lame.  Boring.  Depressing.  Yuck.
Dislike.  Two thumbs down.

Michael Douglas is way too tan and simple-minded as "Billy"

Morgan Freeman - my man!  Wait - this can't be him.  This guy can't stay out past 9pm and has to check in with his babysitter son.

Kevin Kline - Nope.  No way.  Not him. Except it was!

And finally Robert DeNiro, one of the greatest actors of all time played a grouchier version of my husband in old age.  Who wants that as entertainment?

These four buddies head off to Vegas for Billy's Bachelor party, taking us along for the ride.  We get to endure all the normal "old men behaving badly" slapstick as well as reminisce with them as they talk about the good ole days.  

As a middle aged woman, I despise being led to believe all 20 year old girls are attracted to old men.  (They aren't).  The one female in the movie is Mary Steenburgen, who plays a washed up singer - and doesn't really seem to into her role either.  And she is STILL 9 years younger than Douglas.  So frustrating!!

So why didn't Las Vegas work for me?  I think mainly because at 47 years old, I am not ready for the idea that four of the leading men of my entire life are considered senior citizens. 

I remember during the press tour for this movie, Morgan Freeman had trouble staying awake and DeNiro looked generally ticked off most of the time. 
After seeing this movie, I can understand why!

Plenty of people liked this movie, I just wasn't one of them.