July 27, 2014


Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

Based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.

The world is frozen due to a mistaken ‘cure’ for global warming, and the only people left alive are on a huge supertrain that travels all around the earth once a year.

Mr. Otter and I were in Durham, North Carolina, and wanted to go out and do something that evening, and this movie had an awesome trailer and good word of mouth. After finding that A) most restaurants in Durham (at least the ones we tried) are closed Monday night, B) our Garmin was not real good at finding her way (or ours) around downtown Durham and C) that Pizzeria Toro is not only right by the theater where this movie was playing, and open, but had AMAZING food and excellent beer, we sauntered happily to the theater.

It’s a small college theater with two screens, where they alternate new releases with older classics. The staff were great, the theater was good, and we had a wonderful time.

Because this was a REALLY good movie. It was kind of, Cloud Atlas meets Animal Farm; it had the beautiful haunting otherworldliness of the middle stories of Cloud Atlas, and the dynamics of Animal Farm. Ruthless and inevitable, people are just going to do things like that to each other if they are allowed to.

This is beautifully written, suspenseful, has some really good actors, great special effects, good plot twists and a pretty satisfying ending.

Both Mr. Otter and I thought it was a winner! Thank you, Durham, NC!


How To Train Your Dragon 2

July 27, 2014


Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

From the series of children’s books by Cressida Cowell

Mr. Otter and I loved How To Train Your Dragon– Toothless the Dragon reminded us of our cat Jack, and the movie was charming.

So on July 4, I was in Lansing, Michigan, at a motel, and I managed to catch my daughter, Maid-of-Awesome, on Skype.

She said she and her husband had just gone to see it, and really liked it. There’s some benji-peril, she said, because she knows I hate that, and there’s one thing that happens that actually made me sniffle. But it’s good.

Well, there we were in Lansing, Michigan and this movie was still playing at the local theater, so I went to a late show and saw it…and she was right, it’s good.

The kids in it are older (it’s five years later) so it’s more teenager-friendly, and the plot point that made her go Huh? kinda made sense to me, because she had warned me about it, but overall it was great. Beautiful animation, good character development, amazing dragons, good plotting, and they were brave enough to do something bad to a major character, which made the movie that much stronger. Very good!

If you liked the first one, you’ll like this. A worthy sequel.


July 24, 2014


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

A coming-of-age story set on the Arkansas rivers, when two teen boys find a mysterious drifter and end up helping him.

Mr. Otter and I were in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, in a motel. If you have ever been to Scottsbluff, you will understand that there was not much to do that night; thank goodness our motel had fast wifi, because we decided to stream a movie on my ipad.

And after looking through available choices, this was the movie of the night.

And we both really liked it. It’s not really so much about McConaughey, it’s about the boys who get involved with him, and one of them in particular; he’s in love with a teen girl who treats him badly, his parents are getting divorced, he’s probably going to have to move away from the houseboat he lives in and the river he loves, and, well, he’s growing up and life is suddenly harder than it was.

All the characters are good; they’re mostly poor Arkansas river folk but they all have interesting dimensions, there is more to them than just that. McConaughey is a treat to watch in this film; he brilliantly treads the line between kooky and creepy in a really good way, making the viewer veer between, Why are you helping him? and Of course you’re going to help him! without ever really making it clear which side is the right one; the tension in the movie is really good.

An unexpected gem, watch it and enjoy it.