June 5, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

A man who doesn’t have much fun in life is adopted by two ghosts who change his attitude.

I loved the Topper books as a teen, and read them over and over. So when my book and movie group picked this one, I was really happy to reread it, and to finally see the movie.

The book was really well written, although not as funny as I remembered (but I was probably thinking of Topper Takes a Trip, which I remember as one of the funniest books ever.) The book really didn’t get going til the last part, when the other rambunctious ghost couple shows up, but it was fun to read even during the buildup.

The movie was fun too- Cary Grant and Constance Bennet are the ghosts, and thanks to some judicious rewriting, the movie is exciting and funny all the way through. The ghosts get Topper into awful situations that he has to talk (or bluff) his way out of, thereby giving him relief from the boredom of his life.

Worth seeing (but anything with Cary Grant in it is worth seeing, is it not?) and fun to watch.


June 5, 2014


Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

Technically, the story from the Bible, but…

So I kept seeing trailers for this big ol’ thunderin’ biblical epic. Even with Russell Crowe in it, how could I resist?

You didn’t even try, I can hear Mr. Otter saying to me. And he’s right. He and Spider Jerusalem and I went together to see and enjoy and mock.

And oh, it was so mockable.

Ponderous. Topheavy. Relentlessly PC. Silly. The kind of movie that knows from the get-go that many people will take exception to it whatever they do, and tried very hard to make them all happy…and of course, in the end, made pretty much nobody happy.

Crowe is, of course, the eponymous lead. He’s not bad, for what the role is- a touchy-feely nature-boy kinder gentler kind of Noah (but able to kick ass when needed, of course.) They kind of skirted around the whole ‘your family is the only group of people left so your kids are going to have to have children together’ problem by having the family adopt a girl from another place earlier on in the story…but we all know what had to happen.

And of course because it was touchy-feely PC time, they had Knowledge about the Earth and the Creatures and could do things like put ALL THE ANIMALS TO SLEEP with some kind of steam…that didn’t seem to work on human animals, for some reason. So after the really cool f/x of the animals coming to and entering the Ark, that was it, all you ever saw was CGI sleeping animal butts. Kind of disappointing.

Emma Watson has grown up extremely nicely, I’m happy to say. Hopefully she made a boatload of money with the Harry Potter movies and won’t have to do anything like this ever again…one wonders what her agent was thinking. At least Anthony Hopkins (as Methusaleh) not only got to have a little fun with his part, but was mercifully killed off halfway through.

Truthfully, it’s very mockable, but as these things go it’s not a patch on The Ten Commandments, which is one of the best movies both for mocking and for enjoying the spectacle (at least until they cross the Red Sea, then it’s just too heavy handed for words, Mr. Otter and I stop watching at that point, usually).

One of those movies that just takes itself waaaay too seriously. Don’t bother unless you like a lot of special effects and not much else.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

June 5, 2014

ca winter

Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

He’s back, ready to fight more bad guys in the name of freedom…

I really hated the first Captain America movie…it was just BORING. Even for superhero backstory to fill in the details for an upcoming movie, it was awful. Worse than the first Thor movie, even, and that’s really saying something…

So when the trailers for the second Cap movie came out, I was not seduced by their bright shiny glitter. I did not say Ooh! and Aaah! at the fight scenes and the special effects. I said, meh, I hated the first one, why would I waste ten bucks on the second one?

But then…the internets whispered in my ear. It’s good, they said. It’s a cold war spy thriller, they said. It has an actual plot, good writing and decent character development, they said.

And, slut that I am, I listened. And Spider Jerusalem and I plonked down our hard-earned dollars (well, I used a free pass, I have a bunch of them) and went to see it.

And, amazingly enough…the interwebs were right. It was really good.

It is indeed a cold-war spy thriller, with good plot development and twists. The special effects and settings are very well done. Scarlet Johanssen is back again as Black Widow, and is really excellent. And somehow, Chris Evans is less wooden and annoying than he was in the first movie, where he just looked perpetually puzzled.

This was pretty darn good, and worth seeing in the big theater.


June 5, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Review Query Engine

Gengis Khan’s life story…at least, up to the point where he took command of the Mongol horde…

And it’s in MONGOLIAN. No kidding.

I was perusing the returned movie cart at the library where I work and saw this.

Really? I said, a Russian made movie about Genghis Khan in Mongolian? and of course I had to check it out and see it. So a couple of evenings later, Mr. Otter and I ensconced on the couch to give it a whirl.

And you know what? it was pretty darn good. This movie starts with the boy who will become Genghis Khan, when his father is killed and his family left to die by the rest of the tribe, and continues up to the moment he becomes leader of all the Mongol armies. It’s got subtitles, pretty good ones, which are not at all distracting (as they sometimes are.)

But the best part is that a lot of this movie ISN’T fighting. Sure, there’s plenty of sword and arrow action, but a lot of it is just people’s lives, beautifully filmed and (as far as I can tell) extremely historically accurate.

And I especially enjoyed it because I’m hooked on a manga series called A Bride’s Story, which takes place in Turkey around the 1870s, and the lives and way of life of the people in these books are not that different from the Mongols in the late 12th century. Interesting to see.

This is a very well made, beautifully filmed movie- not what you’d expect from the title, but compelling and interesting, well worth watching.