Captain Phillips

February 7, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the book  A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips

The true story of a ship’s captain who was captured by Somali pirates in 2009.

Spider Jerusalem and I wanted to see this in the movie theater, but it just didn’t happen. So on movie night, it was his turn to supply dinner and the movie. His choice: KFC and this. Awesome decisions, both of them.

This was very good. Hanks is a wonderful storyteller, and his movies are always worth seeing.

This was no exception. Although there is still a lawsuit outstanding (his crew members are suing the company that owns the shipping line, saying that Phillips was too close to the Somalian border and that there had been warnings from US maritime saying to stay at least 600 miles away) the facts of the case as presented in the movie are pretty accurate; Phillips’ side is more prominent than the crew members’, but with Tom Hanks playing him, and having the movie taken from Phillips’ book, you’ve got to expect that.

This is another one movie where they want you to be on the edge of your seat…except you know that the main character is going to survive, duh, he wrote a book about it. So there is excitement, and seeing it all play out is very good and full of explodo, but there is no doubt that he will make it through.

Truthfully, the actual best part of the movie, in my opinion, was the five minutes after Phillips is rescued, and he is brought onto the Navy ship and taken to medical where a doctor is checking him out…and you see EVERYTHING on his face: fear, relief, reaction, stress, PTSD, pain, you name it. The man is an amazing actor, and this is the five minutes in the movie where he gets to shine.

Aside from that, it’s a good movie, and barring the fact that Hanks really does kind of resemble Richard Phillips, pretty much anyone could have done a good job with it…but that last five minutes is pure Tom Hanks brilliance, and makes the whole movie better.

Kick-Ass 2

February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the graphic novel of the same name by Mark Waid.

Spider Jerusalem and I were having movie night, and it was his turn to pick both the movie and the food. This was his choice.

He showed me the first Kick-Ass movie, which I liked. Which got me to read the comic. Then I read this comic, but I totally forgot the details of the plot in the intervening year until this came out.

So I had to re-read it before reviewing this movie.

This is a direct sequel to the first movie, with only days or a month passing between the two. And it was good- all the actors were good, and since Nicholas Cage’s character died, thankfully, in the last movie, we didn’t have that awfulness to contend with…I was a bit nonplussed to see Jim Carrey’s name in the credits, but he was actually very good, and stuck to the script. I’ve always said he’s a good actor whenever he can stop being Jim Carrey, and that was the case here.

But…I was kind of surprised. The thing I did remember, from reading this book, was that it was REALLY dark. I mean, sure, in the movie, some bad stuff happens, and people die…but in the book, it was pretty horrific, what happens to everyone, good and bad, and they don’t just scare Kick-Ass’s girlfriend, if you catch my drift. The ending of the book is dark and pretty hopeless, whereas in the movie, it’s more of a serious romp and now we’re going back to our lives.

Hm. I mean, it was a good movie, well done, and the characters are great. And the ending is way easier to handle than the book’s…on the other hand, I think when they were making the movie, they thought that this was the end…but no. Waid has written a prequel to Kick-Ass 2 (Hit Girl) and word is that there are two more books to come (collections of comics series, that is; the comics are probably already out.)

So we’ll see how the movie franchise handles this; I wouldn’t be surprised if they say, ENOUGH! and stop while they’re ahead.

Because Waid is a good writer and plotter…but happy endings? he kind of doesn’t do them.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

A documentary about the man who is the best sushi maker in the world.

Now, I have to disclose something here. Even though I am an otter…I hate seafood. All kinds of seafood. Even whatever kind of delicious seafood has just popped into your mind and you thought, oh, she may THINK she hates seafood, but she’d like this.

Let me assure you, I wouldn’t. I’ve tried a whole lot of kinds and I know whereof I speak: I hate seafood.

I’m also not fond of Japanese cuisine. I’ve tried it, from fast food all the way up to really expensive restaurants, and even without seafood, I don’t find it to be very exciting. I like wasabe a lot (because this otter loves horseradish) and teriyaki is okay. I’ll eat noodles, and I don’t mind tempura, depending on what there is to dip it in. But given my choice of restaurants, I will never willingly go to a Japanese one again; there are just too many kinds of food I really like, why do that?

And you can guess how I feel about sushi. Especially since along with hating seafood, I can’t even stand the SMELL of seaweed. I’m a Teen Librarian, and last summer I had the Culinary Dude come to my library and do a sushi workshop for teens. He used vegetarian chicken (which was better tasting than I thought it would be) but otherwise taught them how to cut the veggies and ‘meat’, roll it up with rice in a seaweed square, and cut slices to make real sushi.

And the smell of the seaweed was HORRIBLE. By the end of the program, it was all I could do not to run from the room looking for fresh air.

So why did I watch this movie? About a guy who spends his life, and lovingly details, making something I would probably not willingly be in the room with, much less put into my own mouth?

Because I’m an extravert, and one who is very interested in other people. And one of the things I love most is hearing people talk about things they love, that they are passionate about.

This movie is about a guy who is (at that time) in his 80s. He has done one thing his whole life, and is THE BEST IN THE WORLD at it. And he still loves it.

How could I not enjoy this movie?

The movie itself is in Japanese, I watched it with English subtitles. It was really interesting, not only for the details of how sushi is made and how his restaurant works (I love finding out how things are done and made) but also because he had two sons, one of whom is following him at his sushi restaurant, and the other has opened his own place nearby. Imagine being the oldest son of someone who is the best in the world at what they do, and working for/with/under him, and knowing that even if you are ever as good as he is at what you’re doing, nobody will ever think so.

This was a fascinating and well-made movie, full of great interviews and details, and brilliantly cut; they must have taken hundreds of hours of footage, but this movie is just under 90 minutes. A perfect gem, and well worth watching. People are just amazing.


February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

A ‘haves and have-nots’ story, by the guy who made District 9.

And at this point, all I have to do is say one name and you’ll know everything you need to know about this movie:


See, you get it. Brilliant first movie is a huge hit, so Hollywood throws money at the guy who made it, and…the second one, budget and big stars (Matt Damon and Jodie Foster) notwithstanding…he’s still trying to step in the same river twice. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

District 9 was a really interesting and thoughtful movie about apartheid with aliens rather than humans of a race that the powers that be dislikes. It was interesting, had good political points to make, made them, and ended. With a lot of explosions and gun battles, which never hurts when you’re trying to make a political point.

And this…he was trying to do the same thing, but trying too hard, and also if you have already said it, why are you repeating yourself? (Are you listening, Mr. Shyamalan? Are you? Really?)

This movie is about rich people in orbit on a luxury ring around earth, while the despised poor stay on a polluted planet without much to recommend their lives, and Matt Damon gets so pissed off at this that he manages to change everything.

Yeah, right.

Jodie Foster was totally believable as the evil woman running the system, and Damon was very good…but been there, done that, don’t need to see it again.

The special effects are cool, and it’s not AWFUL, just, you know…not so great.

2 Guns

February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the graphic novel of the same name by Steve Grant.

A DEA agent and a Navy guy are set up to both run afoul of the law while thinking they’re working on a case.

Spider Jerusalem and I saw the previews for this in the theaters, and didn’t manage to catch it there. But never fear! I actually had a weekend day off with nothing planned, so we had a moviefest, and this was one of our three choices…and truthfully, it was the best of the three (the other two being Lone Ranger and Elysium).

A fun romp. This is the best thing I’ve seen Denzel Washington in in years, he was funny and charming and a great action hero, given his age (why, the man is five years older than I am! how can he even be breathing?). Mark Wahlberg is always a pleasure to see in almost any role, and they worked well together.

The plot actually made sense, and was full of action, good lines and had a satisfying ending.

Well done and worth seeing, says the Otter.

The Lone Ranger

February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the neverending franchise, but originally from a radio program that debuted in 1933.

I was so excited by  the previews of this movie. This tells you how much they have figured out in the science/art of making previews that make people want to see movies, whether or not the movies are any good…

And Serious Honey Johnny Depp! no need to tell my True Fans how awesome he is, even in a bad movie or a very bad movie, he is worth watching. But in full makeup as…Tonto? Really? Okay, I’m willing to go with it, ever since I scorned Disney for making an AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE into a MOVIE…and was proved to be so very very wrong…

But then there were more previews…and they seemed…off, somehow. Hm, I said to Serious Movie Buddy Spider Jerusalem, maybe we should save our ten bucks and see this at home…? and he agreed with me.

So here it was, a Saturday afternoon that not only was I not working, but I had no other plans for. There were three movies that we had not seen in the theaters that we wanted to watch, and this was one of them

And oh my god, we were so glad we had NOT paid ten bucks to see this dog of a suckmonster. I started msting it ten minutes into the movie. It was truly terrible. And because it’s February, here is a valentine that tells how I feel about it:

Lone Ranger movie, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

A. Hammer is no actor, never was
And Johnny Depp was wasted, that’s no lie.
They both are silly, less than meets the eye
Though Depp can act, while Hammer never does.
The history sucks, there’s no point saying this-
As SJ said, the writers had no brain.
When, at the end, at him I did complain
He laughed at me for every cry and hiss.
The music was, of course, from William Tell
alternately with one more fiddle tune
repeated, o’er and o’er, because a goon
had writ the score and knew just these two well.
And now I tell you, honestly and true,
Avoid this flick! you’ll thank me if you do.

And the fifteen minutes that it took me to express my disdain in sonnet form was WAY more thought than ANYONE put into this movie. What a pastichy mishmosh of a bastardized bad idea with supposedly cool stuff thrown in! SJ mocked me when I screamed at the television that they couldn’t have been playing Stars and Stripes Forever at Promontory Point in 1869 because John Philip Sousa was ONLY FIFTEEN THEN. Not to mention the wild train chase away from there…through TREE LINED CANYONS. On DOUBLE TRACKS. Oh my god.

Oh, and the music thing: of course during two of the big action scenes they had to do the third part of the William Tell Overture; I was actually okay with this. But every time they wanted mood music, they did a sad orchestral version of the fiddle tune After the Battle of Aughrim (here’s a decent version of it on mando and guitar). Yes, a great tune but DAMN I got tired of it and really don’t want to be thinking of this crappy pile of wasted…I was going to say cellulose but movies aren’t, any more…ELECTRONS when I hear it from now on. And I will. Dammit.

No point going on, even Depp couldn’t save this. I’m sure he insisted on the full makeup at all times so he could pretend he wasn’t even there…but we know you were, Mr. Depp. And we also know that you have signed on for a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And if you want to keep your coveted position of Serious Honey on Otter’s blog site…well, just look to Nicholas Cage and be warned.

Avoid this film like the heap of idiocy it is. If you want something fun and steampunky that’s set in the same time period, I highly recommend Wild Wild West. Let’s watch it together and take the evil taste of this movie out of my mouth. Feh.

The Heat

February 6, 2014


Internet Movie Database         Movie Reviews

An FBI agent has to work with a Boston street cop. Of course it all works out.

Spider Jerusalem and I saw the previews for this, and thought it looked amusing, but we never managed to catch it in the theaters. Then it was SJ’s turn to supply the movie and dinner on one of our Wednesday movie nights…and he borrowed this from his work-wife.

Sandra Bullock is dumb as a stump, but looks good and can act pretty well. At least she understands the words she’s saying, unlike Alicia Silverstone trying to do Shakespeare…and she was perfect for the part of the work-obsessed perfectionist FBI agent-on-the-way-up who is horrified by Melissa McCarthy, who is earthy and loudmouthed and has actual relationships with people and knows her territory and how to get things done there.

This was actually pretty good. The two women were very good and believeable in their roles; it was obvious from the get-go what was going to happen, but it was fun to watch it play out, and McCarthy was a joy, what a great comedian. Her timing and delivery of her lines really made this work.

Not awesome, but certainly fun and worth watching.