Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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Reviewing

One of the things I really regretted not being able to do while in school was go to the movies. So, now that I’m out, with money to spare and great movies coming to the big screen left right and center, I’ve been seeing some great flicks.

And some not so amazing ones too, come to think of it.

So, for the fun of it, here are my thoughts on some of the summer blockbusters!

THE HUNGER GAMES

Rating: PG-13

My Rating: Meh

Thoughts: I can’t imagine that it is easy to make a movie of books that are so well loved and widely read by a young audience. However, Peter Jackson and David Yates managed it, but Gary Ross didn’t do such a great job. The first hour was full of shaky camera shots, and the next hour glossed way too quickly over many important events in the book. The last half hour was sheer torture for me, but that probably had more to do with me wanting it to be over than bad pacing.

The casting was fantastic, especially putting Stanley Tucci in as Caesar. No one could have played him half as well. The scenery too was perfect, and the special effects were impeccable. Really, my only complaint was that they made some serious assumptions, the biggest one being that they made the assumption that the people seeing the movie had already read the book. For about 80% of viewers I’m sure that’s the case, but I feel bad for the people that showed up and didn’t know what was going on.

Conclusion: Solid movie for the existing fan of the book series, but I’m not going to sit around pining until Catching Fire is released.

 

MIRROR MIRROR

Rating: PG

My Rating: Cute!

Thoughts: Two words: Julia Roberts. She rules this movie! Sure, it’s a kid’s movie first and foremost, but adults will really connect with her character’s motivation: not wanting to age. No one wants to grow old, and when someone as freshly young as Snow White (played somewhat schizophrenically by Lily Collins) is sitting in your castle, well it only makes sense that you would feel your age even more.

With that as a subplot, the “main” plot of Snow White finding her courage comes across as a little contrived. However, the dwarves do wonders in spicing up her story line, and are completely fabulous! It’s the best handling of those characters I’ve ever seen.

In the end, this reboot is to Snow White what Ella Enchanted was to Cinderella. Is it a true interpretation? Not in the least. However, it is fun, entertaining, and elicits a few giggles along the way. Worth seeing!

 

 

THE AVENGERS

Rating: PG-13

My Rating: OH MY GOSH!!!!! Emma liked a superhero movie!!!!!!!

 

Thoughts: I stopped watching Spiderman during part two. I fell asleep during Batman Begins. Someone had to tell me that Thor was a superhero. This genre just isn’t my thing, at all. So, when I heard about The Avengers, I paid no attention. I knew that someone named Jeremy Renner was in it, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

So, why see it? Good question. Well, since both of my childhood friends are moving away this summer, we figured it was the last thing we’d all be able to do together for a year or so. Because I love my friends, I went to the movie. Now, I knew I wouldn’t get everything about the movie because I hadn’t seen the Ironmans, the Hulks, Thor, Captain America, or any of the movies made that led up to the phenomenon  that is The Avengers.

For me, Ironman (played by RDJ) stole the movie. He was amazing! Which is saying a lot, because the other characters were all amazing as well, which should give you a small idea of just how awesome RDJ must have been. So, not only did I enjoy a superhero movie, but I plan on going to see it again! And I also plan on watching the Ironman movies soon. Also, it has an epic soundtrack. And RDJ.

 

MEN IN BLACK 3

Rating: RG-13

My Rating: AWESOME!

Thoughts: Men in Black 1 was okay. Men in Black 2 was all over the map. To be honest, it never crossed my mind to hope for another movie. BIG mistake. With Will Smith in the mix, it was silly not to think that a third MIB movie would be extraordinary. And it was. A little silly in places, and sure it was far fetched from start to finish….

But man, the finish! I don’t want to be spoiler-y, but it was a really good narrative. Now, in all fairness I think that the narrative felt extraordinarily sophisticated against the lightness of the preceding movies, but it was good nonetheless. Overall, it was a solid, good film that leaves me thinking fondly of the entire MIB franchise. I would definitely recommend going to see this.

As an aside, there’s an added bonus of the majority of the movie being set in 1969, which is a HOOT. They did a really good job with the historical details, and let’s face it, I’ve never seen Andy Warhol explained so perfectly. And if that doesn’t make you want to go see the movie, then nothing will.

 

PROMETHEUS 

Rating: R (in my defense, I had no idea until I got TO the theater)

My Rating: Uhhhhhh….

Thoughts: I’m torn about Prometheus (which, for the record, was my first opening night showing ever!!!!). In many ways, it is a solid movie. Gripping plot, interesting characters, and a compelling story line. Oh, and the visual effects are gorgeous! Some of it was shot in Iceland, which was the perfect choice for the sparseness and ruggedness needed to accompany the story.

On the other hand, things seemed to be a bit all over the place. Some areas lacked finesse, while other areas were so finessed as to be incomprehensible. Sometimes the plot made sense, and other times, well…it didn’t. At all. It was also the most intense movie I’ve ever seen, hands down. That explains the rating, and the intensity was very well done. In the end though, I don’t think it’s a movie I’m wild to see again. If there’s a sequel, and there should be a sequel, I’m all there. Some elements of the movie are too good to just leave hanging.

 

There you have it! My scattered thoughts on the summer movies. I still want to see Snow White and the Huntsman, and after viewing this clip of Madagascar 3…well, that might be on the docket as well.

Yeah, it’s catchy all right. So, what about you all? Have you seen any of these? What about the other movies showing? Leave your thoughts, comments, and reviews below!

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The Actor and the Housewife

An incandescently engrossing novel, this is a story that is as heartwarming as it is heart breaking. Hale sets up the plot with an unlikely heroine, Becky Jack, a Mormon stay-at-home mom with three children, one on the way, and the incredible luck to have randomly sold a movie script. As a result, she gets to spend one day in New York, and into this day walks the famous movie star Felix Callahan.

An innocent meeting, and exchange of witty remarks, an uncomfortable shared taxi ride, rooms in the same hotel, and a fun-filled dinner later, Becky is convinced that she has just lived a fantasy. It was nice while it lasted, but she is more than content to return home to her childhood sweetheart of a husband and her wonderful children. She never expects to see Felix again.

Except, he turns up a few months later at a writer’s lecture at which Becky is speaking.

And, just like that, Felix disappears again, only to reappear randomly again, setting a pattern that would continue for months and years.

Becky becomes Felix’s first female best friend. It’s not a truly easy road, and the book chronicles the funny and quirky journey of Felix learning to be a friend, Felix’s supermodel wife indulging his more plebian taste in friends, and Becky’s husband struggling to accept that Becky could continue to love him after experiencing the friendship of a famous movie star.

I was very impressed that, with a plotline ripe for using “tried and true” clichés, Hale manages to give the story fresh twists and an unusual road to the book’s conclusion. On the way to the final page, readers can expect to fall in love with this quirky cast of characters, and to be unwilling to put this book down! Excellent writing, wonderful story, and an enchanting read. (4 Stars)

This book was sent to me via LibraryThing’s “Early Reviewers” program. You may read my review there as well, and please take a few minutes to explore LibraryThing itself. It’s a wonderful site!

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