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Saturday, February 13, 2016

What's your favorite book about true love?

Happy Valentine's Day!
I wanted to feature a romantic movie on this special day.  Unfortunately, there are 2 mediocre chick flicks in theaters right now, nothing I can highly recommend.

One of them is based on the newest Nicholas Sparks books, and because this blog is all about reading and writing, I thought I'd feature this one below from my movie review blog.

One of my all-time favorite movies about true love is "The Princess Bride."  What is yours?

Movie Title:      The Choice

Grade:   C-

Rating:   PG-13, 1 hour 49 minutes

In a Nutshell:    My husband says that the definition of a Chick Flick is when two good-looking guys fall all over themselves for one spoiled girl.  If that’s true, then this is definitely a Chick Flick, although not a very good one.

One of the obvious choices in this formulaic movie isn’t just which guy to choose, but there are several others.  

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Life just keeps unfolding.  If you sit still, it’ll pass you by altogether.” – Gabby (Teresa Palmer)
  • “Life is held together by choices – all sizes.” – Gabby
  • “Opportunity is missed by most people, because it’s dressed up in overalls and looks a lot like work.” – Thomas Edison, as quoted by Shep (Tom Wilkinson)
  • “Every path you take leads to another choice.” – Travis (Benjamin Walker)

Things I liked:
  • Most of the movie takes place lakeside with beautiful views.
  • Cute puppies!
  • Teresa Palmer looks like the All-American girl next door.
  • Nicholas Sparks tries to add depth to his romantic stories.  His most recent tale-turned-Chick-Flick was “The Longest Ride.”  You can see my movie review of that film here.  That film did it much better than this one.
  • If you’re thinking about cheating on your boyfriend, you’ll see what a two-timer feels like.
  • There’s a funny proposal scene.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Everything about this movie is clichéd, even the clothing.  For example, he wears a tank top to show off his muscles and she wears a white t-shirt in the rain.
  • A lot of movie critics are begging Nicholas Sparks to stop writing such cheesy love stories that then get turned into sappy movies.
  • Benjamin Walker drinks bottles of beer in a weird way.  I know that seems nit-picky, but it bugged me.
  • They try to have clever chit-chat, but it comes out forced and predictable.  The actors look like they’re acting.
  • SPOILER ALERT:  A happy ending is an easy out.  The harder ending would have been to write something more interesting.
  • Both Travis and Gabby are too cocky for my taste.  They fight and bicker from the very first moment they meet, which is a clichéd, although not appealing, form of flirtation.
  • What kind of character does a girl have who jumps in bed with another guy when her boyfriend has only been gone a few days on a business trip?  Does true love excuse lack of integrity or morality? Um...nope.

Funny lines:
  •  “What are you doing?” – Gabby
“Walking towards you real slow.” – Travis
“Why?” - Gabby
“Cause if I ran, I’d scare you.”  - Travis
  • “Mama, he’s a walking cautionary tale.” - Gabby

Interesting lines:
  • “Has anyone ever said no to you?” – Gabby
“No.” – Travis
“Then, I’m making history.” - Gabby
  • “Your friends, family…that’s all you can count on in this world.  That’s what I believe.” – Travis
  • “I kind of fell into the Bible.  He wanted to burn it.” – Shep
  • “If you see a man sleeping on the cold floor, there’s sure to be a pretty woman nearby.” – Shep
  • “There’s no shame in being a broken man.  I should know. You just pick up the pieces and start rebuilding.” – Shep
  • “That’s all any woman wants…a man who’s going to fight.”   (for her)  - Monica (Alexandra Daddario)

Tips for parents:   

  • Girls falling out of their bikini tops.
  • One girl flips the bird.
  • Some profanity.
  • Two people jump in bed together on their very first date.
  • Take the opportunity to talk to your family about “Do Not Resuscitate” orders.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pride and Prejudice mixes Zombies with British humor

As an author, I admit I'd love to achieve the legendary status as Jane Austin, not to mention her loyal fan base.  

Many versions of "Pride and Prejudice" have been written and turned into film over the years.  Adding zombies to the tale may have never crossed our mind, but writer and director Burr Steers thought "why not?"

Below is my movie review from my other blog.

Movie Title:     Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Grade:   B-

Rating:   PG-13, 1 hour 40 minutes

In a Nutshell:    Why?  I guess writer and director Burr Steers thought “why not?”

Who exactly is the target market for this film: fans of Jane Austin or “The Walking Dead”?  Is there a third category of people who love both?  If so, this movie is their dream come true.

It’s an odd mash-up, for sure, kind of like “Abraham Lincoln, the Vampire Slayer”.   Like that movie, real history is mingled with fiction in flirty fashion.  In the beginning of the movie, we are given a quasi-history lesson which tries to make the rest of the movie make sense.  

We’ve seen many different kinds of zombies in movies and TV shows before, and this movie brings us another version: one that can talk, run fast, and act human…with a British accent.

Uplifting theme: 
  •  “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Elizabeth
  • “Keep your swords as sharp as your wits.” – narrator
  • True love always wins the day.

Things I liked:
  • I adore Lily James.  I first fell in love with her in Cinderella. She is a lovely Elizabeth Bennet.
  • Matt Smith plays a delightful Mr. Collins, who has some of the best lines in the movie.  He is a hilarious dancer too.
  • There is a scene where Elizabeth Bennet catches flies with her fingers as they fly by.  I actually knew a man who could do that.  It was fascinating to watch.
  • There’s a funny proposal scene involving punches and a wrestling match.
  • SPOILER ALERT:  The zombies gather in St. Lazarus church, which is an appropriate name if you’ve read the Bible.  In fact, there is quite a bit of mention of the Book of Revelations and the Anti-Christ with the attempt to make the story appear more credible.
  • I first noticed the delightful Sally Phillips on the British comedy “Miranda”.  She is an equally enjoyable Mrs. Bennet.
  • Did you know that Natalie Portman is one of the producers?
  • Jack Huston is the perfect Mr. Wickham, as well as the most changed Jane Austin character.  Did you know that he comes from Hollywood royalty on his father’s side of the family (his grandfather was the famous John Huston) and British aristocracy on his mother’s side of the family?  He is currently working on his starring role as Ben Hur in the remake to be released later this year.
  • Who doesn’t like proper ladies with swords and pistols?
  • One of the tidbits of information we’re given in the history lesson at the beginning includes something true that I only learned last summer when I visited London: there actually was a wall that surrounded the city of London.  Here are a few pictures of London I took on my recent trip there.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Men will like watching a cat fight.
  • It’s just odd…
  • Zombie lovers will be disappointed that there is more Jane Austin than zombie action.
  • Jane Austin fans will keep asking “why?”

Funny lines:
  • “I was unaware that zombies possessed such acuity so as to set such traps.  Before we know it, they’ll be running for Parliament.” – Mr. Collins (Matt Smith)
  • “Daughters do not dance well with masticated brains.” – Mr. Bennet
  • “Lady, may I take a moment to compliment you on your pantaloons.  Function or fashion?” – Mrs. Bennet
“Function.” – Lady Catherine
  • “Flattery will get you everywhere, Miss Bennet.” – Mr. Collins
  • “You have a very small estate here.” – The cocky Lady Catherine  (Lena Headey)
“And yet we endure it.” – Elizabeth
  • “May I inquire as to the measure of this discomfort?” – Giardana
“I would much rather show you.” – Elizabeth, getting ready to punch her
  • “Mr. Darcy, you’re as unfeeling as the undead.” – Elizabeth 

Interesting lines:
  • “Anything is preferred than to be married without affection.” – Elizabeth
  • “I’d risk a cold before I’d risk Darcy’s blade.” – Elizabeth
  • “My daughters were trained for battle, not the kitchen.” – Mr. Bennet (Charles Dance)
  • “Of all the weapons in the world, I now know love to be the most powerful.” –
  • “I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring. – Elizabeth
“For the right man, you will.” – Jane Bennet
“The right man wouldn’t ask me to.” – Elizabeth
  • “Their hubris will be their downfall.” – captain guy
  • “I don’t know which I admire more, Miss Bennet: your skill as a warrior or your resolve as a woman.” – Lady Catherine

Tips for parents:   

  • You will hear wonderful types of profanity like “Oh fuddle!” and “Bugger!”
  • Homosexual innuendo.
  • There’s not as much blood and gore as there is in “The Walking Dead”, but there is still plenty of shootings, stabbings, smashed skulls, and other forms of violence.