The Danish Girl (2015)

The Danish Girlsynopsis

The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne [“The Theory of Everything”] and Alicia Vikander [“Ex Machina”]), directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”). Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

~ Official Movie Website

review

I love Eddie Redmayne, even more so after I saw his portrayal of Steven Hawking in The Theory of Everything, so this was a definite must-see for me. The fact that it deals with alternative sexuality, was a plus.

What a sad story. I thought this movie was a perfect portrayal of acceptance. I’ll admit that I have not been sympathetic to the transsexual experience, feeling that God does not make mistakes. This movie allowed me to put God, as I understand him, aside and commiserate with Lili, learning more about acceptance of others from Gerda.

Ever since I had sex with a redhead, I have been attracted to them, despite my attraction to darker-skinned men. My experience has been that the “carrot” is usually bigger than normal and Mr. Redmayne did not disappoint. I did not expect it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see male frontal nudity, albeit shielded.

Rooting for Eddie to win the Oscar for best actor.

The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

The Last Witch Hunter

synopsis

The modern world holds many secrets, but by far the most astounding is that witches still live among us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world and putting an end to the human race once and for all. Armies of witch hunters have battled this unnatural enemy for centuries, including Kaulder (Vin Diesel), a valiant warrior who many years ago slayed the all-powerful WITCH QUEEN, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen cursed KAULDER with immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter. Today, Kaulder is the last living hunter who has spent his immortal life tracking down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost family. However, unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Witch Queen has been resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer, leading to an epic battle that will determine the survival of mankind.

~ The Last Witch Hunter

review

I was surprised to encounter this movie in the DVD rental store and snatch-grabbed a copy for evening entertainment, as darkness enhances viewing pleasure of this movie genre.

I used to crush on Vin Diesel, but the attraction has waned. However, I enjoyed his portrayal of Kaulder and would gladly watch a sequel to this movie. The Witch Queen possessed awesome make-up and the set designs were spectacular. The story is not as straightforward as portrayed in the synopsis, and I only wish more time had been allotted for better plot development and to explore some of the subtleties.

Great witch story! Still waiting for film adaptation of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. The preview from this DVD that I am eager to view in the near future would be Gods of Egypt.

 

Goosebumps (2015)

Goosebumpssynopsis

Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door, and makes a quick friend in Champ (Ryan Lee). But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hanna’s mysterious dad is in fact R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. As Zach starts learning about the strange family next door, he soon discovered that Sine holds a dangerous secret: the creatures that his stories made famous are real, and Stine projects his readers by keeping them lock up in their books.

When Stine’s creations are unintentionally released from their manuscripts, Zach’s life takes a turn for the weird. In a crazy night of adventure, it’s up to Zach, Hannah, Champ, and Stine to team up and get all of these figments of Stines’ imagination – including Slappy the Dummy, the girl with the haunted mask, the gnomes and many more – back in the books where they belong to save the town.

~ Official Theatrical Website

review

I have enjoyed many of the movies which featured Jack Black, so Goosebumps was a must see for me, in addition to the genre of the film, of which I am a fan. I never read any of the Goosebumps series, but this movie has definitely inspired an interest in me despite the fact that I don’t think they will scare me as much as they might a child.

The character, Champ, was one person they should have left behind to be killed by the monsters…how effin’ annoying was he? The movie reeked of an after-school special, but I have always been a fan of those, especially when the genre fall into a category I enjoy. Definitely made for the middle school audience – maybe even high school – but enjoyable if you like this type of movie.

Despite a mention of “the girl with the haunted mask,” I did not notice a character that fit that description.

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

Hotel Transylvania 2

synopsis

Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania…Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny – and in for a major cultural shock of her own – “Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad is about to pay fa family visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not pure blood – and human are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania – things are going to get batty!

Source: Official Theatrical Website

review

I thought this sequel was funnier than the first one. The story is as old as the hills revolving around unconditional acceptance in the face of discrimination, but from a monster’s point of view, and funny. One of the things that really made me laugh was the idea that everyone thought the Invisible Man had made up his girlfriend – also invisible and from Canada.

I was able to pick out the voice talents of Megan Mullally, but the movie was packed with well-know actors: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, Dana Carvey and Mel Brooks.

The Martian (2015)

The Martian

synopsis

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

~ 20th Century Fox

review

Much better than I expected and a contributing factor to my liking of this movie were shirtless scenes of Mr. Matt Damon. I also appreciated the humor of his character, which from my perspective, was kind of in-your-face; especially when it came to dealing with the bureaucratic NASA.

The scariest part of this movie for me was when the astronauts are floating in space. I noticed in this movie that they didn’t even use tethers, which did not seem appropriate, but certainly doubled the suspense factor. You couldn’t pay me enough to go into space!

Interesting and good story.

The Judge (2014)

The Judge

synopsis

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes “The Judge,” starring Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Tropic Thunder,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films, the “Iron Man” franchise), Oscar® winner Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies,” “Crazy Heart”) and Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Conjuring”). The film is directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”).

In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

Starring alongside Downey, Duvall and Farmiga are Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), Jeremy Strong (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln”), Dax Shephard (TV’s “Parenthood”), and Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade,” “Friday Night Lights”). The film also stars Oscar® winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter,” “Prisoners”), Leighton Meester (TV’s “Gossip Girl”), Ken Howard (“J. Edgar,” “Michael Clayton”), Emma Tremblay (“Elysium”), Balthazar Getty (TV’s “Brothers & Sisters”), David Krumholtz (“This Is the End”), Sarah Lancaster (TV’s “Chuck”), Grace Zabriskie (TV’s “Big Love”) and Denis O’Hare (TV’s “True Blood”).

~ Official Movie Website

review

I had seen portions of this movie before while my parents were watching it. My decision to rent this move was due more to a lack of movie fare at the DVD rental store, than a true desire to actually see it. I think the deciding factor/saving grace is that it is a courtroom drama, a genre I love also.

Robert Downey Jr. is so handsome and fit, though some of his wardrobe in this movie betrays his sculpted torso. Even in the poster above, his handsomeness is evident.

Good story!

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

Hitman: Agent 47

synopsis

HITMAN: AGENT 47 centers on an elite assassin who was genetically engineered from conception to be the perfect killing machine, and is known only by the last two digits on the barcode tattooed on the back of his neck. He is the culmination of decades of research – and forty-six earlier Agent clones — endowing him with unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence. His latest target is a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47’s past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own. Teaming up with a young woman who may hold the secret to overcoming their powerful and clandestine enemies, 47 confronts stunning revelations about his own origins and squares off in an epic battle with his deadliest foe.

~ 20th Century Fox

review

I had seen a preview on another DVD rental and was intrigued by the plot of this movie. Loved it!

Rupert is nice to look at for 96 minutes, the runtime of the movie. What a surprise to see Zachary Quinto again in a role that reprises his role in Heroes; he is not bad to look at either. Lots of action. Good versus evil. Probably filmed on location in Singapore; loved the scenery. Discovered it was also filmed in Germany.

The ending scene made no sense to me and if I tell you why, I spoil the ending.

Fast-paced and action-packed.

A Good Marriage (2014)

A Good Marriage

synopsis

Based upon Stephen’s riveting and suspenseful short-story from Full Dark, No Stars, A Good Marriage tells the story of Darcy Anderson as she learns the inconceivable truth about her husband of 25 years.

With a screenplay written by Stephen and featuring Kristen Connolly, Joan Allen, Stephen Lang and Anthony LaPaglia, A Good Marriage explores the complex dynamic of long-term relationships and their dark secrets.

~ Stephen King Official Website

review

I saw Stephen King’s name on the DVD cover and having enjoyed some of his stories in the past, I thought I would give it a try. I lost interest in his books when he started incorporating more character thoughts versus story-telling.

My own values disengaged me from the very beginning as I could not comprehend Darcy’s choice on how to handle the situation. However, as the movie progressed, I conceded her decision was to propel the plot forward. I also suppose there are some people – in my opinion, stupid – that would make the same decision. That one decision is the only reason for the suspense the film created. I love suspense because I am constantly waiting for the denouement. In the end, because I did not understand the pivotal decision, I felt the movie failed.

One other thing I did not like about this movie was the confusion in the beginning regarding real versus delusion personage of her husband.

Good suspense deserving of a better plot.

Seventh Son (2014)

Seventh Sonsynopsis

When Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), the queen of evil witches, escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter Spook (Jeff Bridges) decades ago and kills his apprentice, he recruits young Tom (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him.

~ Internet Movie Database

review

I love this genre of movie, but even I was surprised to find out Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges were starring in this movie.

The story was good, especially the little twists that developed. The effects and costume design awesome. Ben Barnes was nice to look at.

Engaging!

Ted 2 (2015)

Ted 2synopsis

Everyone’s favorite foulmouthed teddy bear is back for a second round of hilarious antics and outrageous adventures. When Ted (voiced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane) is declared property by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ted and his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) must go to court to fight for Ted’s personhood. With the help of their smart, beautiful (and pot-loving) lawyer (Amanda Seyfried), the thunder buddies for life battle to legalize Ted in this “wickedly funny”* sequel that will keep fans laughing right up to the very end.

~ Official Movie Website

review

In my opinion, the Los Angeles Times is hiring people who smoke pot – Hey! I should apply – because even I found the humor in Ted 2 to be too juvenile, but a creative plot that investigates property versus personhood saved Ted 2 from total disgrace.

The idea that the property versus personhood argument is similar in its discrimination against Ted, is very similar to the Black issue, the Holocaust, the Japanese issue, the Gay issue and the soon to be Muslim issue. Being the owner of a dog, the movie provoked the argument in my head that Mojo is not property; he is my family, proven by the fact that he has the right not to be abused.

Hell, I stayed awake during the viewing, so it was not all bad. The humor might have been funny if I was high, but we’ll never know.

*Los Angeles Times