Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

My View:  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty  (2013)  PG  Walter (Ben Stiller) works in a very ordinary job at Life magazine and has a crush on Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), a fellow co-worker.  Walter has never been anywhere or done anything, but he does day-dream constantly about going on fantastic adventures.  He gets his opportunity to live his dream when a negative of a photograph goes missing, and he takes off on an adventure to find the world famous photographer (Sean Penn). I really enjoyed this smart, uplifting film.  The script does a remarkable job of not letting the film get cheesy or schmaltzy.  I loved the soundtrack in this film, and it helped move the story along. The scenery of the film is a sight to be seen, and there are some cool CGI special effects when Walter is in one of his numerous daydreams.  The opening credits of the film are some of the most imaginative credits I’ve seen in quite a while. There is nice chemistry between Stiller and Wiig, making the romance between to the two of them feel real and never forced.  Stiller does a superb job of playing the everyman who wants to break out of his shell.  While not a great film, it’s a fun, enjoyable film with a message.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Website
My View:  The Wolf of Wall Street  (2013)  R  Based on a true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who rises from nothing to become a major player in the New York Stock Exchange, only to be brought down by a large securities fraud case.  DiCaprio is unbelievably great in this 3 hour comedy directed by Martin Scorsese.  DiCaprio shows a great comedic timing, especially working well off of Jonah Hill, who plays Jordan Belfort’s right hand man.  There is a scene near the end of the film that involve some stairs and a car, where DiCaprio has to do physical comedy that reminded me of Buster Keaton and Steve Martin.  There is an incredible cameo by Matthew McConaughey, playing a stockbroker that Belfort patterns his life from.  This is a film that not everyone will like due to the excess of drugs, profanity, and nudity (of which there is an incredible amount).  I liked the film and really enjoyed the performances of the actors, but I was let down by the script, which never quite jelled the storyline together for me.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Wolf of Wall Street Website

My View:  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) PG-13  The remarkable story of Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) who changed a country and the world forever.  This film tells Nelson Mandela's life story from his childhood to his inauguration as the President of South Africa.  Idris Elba is the reason to see this film, and he fills the screen with Mandela’s spirit, passion and purpose. While Elba doesn’t really resemble Mandela physically, he perfectly mimics his diction and mannerisms. The film, though, doesn’t give Elba much to work with as the actor is much better than the script.  This is a movie that should have had me on the verge of tears several times, but I never felt very involved with the film.  I think the film covers too much ground and does a poor job of showing how hard prison life was on Mandela. Unfortunately this is a film that doesn’t live up to the greatness of the man it is depicting.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Website

Forgotten Film:  The Ruling Class  (1972)  R  Jack Gurney (Peter O’Toole) becomes the 14th Earl of Gurney.  The problem is that Jack is a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks he is God and has a habit of breaking out into a song and dance routine.  To keep the family out of scandal, his relatives decide that they must steal his estate from him.  Jack fights back the only way he knows, by becoming Jack the Ripper.  Peter O’Toole shines in this black comedy that has so many twists and turns to it, you just might need a flow chart to keep up.  He is an absolute delight to watch as he tears about the screen causing mayhem and madness.  The film was a failure at the box office but has become a cult classic that illustrates just how much we will miss O’Toole on the silver screen.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Ruling Class Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): About Last Night (2014)  Why does Hollywood insist on remaking films that weren’t that good to begin with?  The 1986 film of the same name was an excuse just to put fellow brat-packers Rob Lowe and Demi Moore together.  Comedian Kevin Hart stars in the remake.  About Last Night Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray): The Lone Ranger (2013) PG-13  One of the worst films of the year.  The film is too long, never captures the audience's imagination, and the last big chase scene is entirely too confusing to make any sense.  It’s sad when I enjoyed the acting of the horse more than any actor in the film.  My Rating:  Cable  The Lone Ranger Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:  Facial Hair Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Winter’s Tale  (2014)  PG-13  In 1916, a thief breaks into a mansion and encounters a dying woman.  He soon falls in love with her, only to have her die.  He learns that he has the gift of reincarnation and seeks to find her in the present day.  Cast includes Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, and William Hurt.  Winter's Tale Website
Until Next Time!

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