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|107 reviews in total|
This is one of those films that I wish they had made 20 years ago when this project began. I knew about the "lost boys" because I saw something about them on the television show 7th Heaven. It is really a sad state of affairs when you have to find out about the relocation on Sudanese refugees to the United States from a TV show (smh). The story begins with the back story of a group of children that survive a brutal attack on their village by rebel soldiers. The understanding of the back story is essential in order to understand the title of the film. The children spend many years in a refugee camp until one day the group is informed that they will be relocated to America, which is all they have ever wanted. Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Jeremiah (Ger Duang), Paul (Emmanuel Jal) and Abital (Kuoth Wiel) all arrive in the U.S. together only to find out that Abital is going to a different state. A lot of the film centers around trying to get everyone back together. Once the men get settled in, there is a bit of brevity just because there are a lot of things that we take for granted that these folks have no idea what their use is. It also demonstrated how ill-informed Americans were to the culture that these men came from. I do have to say that the Americans that were portrayed in this film all had good hearts (for the most part) and it was refreshing to see a film that showcased that level of generosity. Carrie (Reese Witherspoon) is responsible for finding employment for the lost boys and eventually becomes entangled in their lives and their pursuit to reunite with their sister. I have to say that when this film was over I had a new found respect for anyone who comes to America to escape the horrors of war. The lost boys that came to this country did not have it easy although once they got here they took full advantage of the opportunities that this country offers. I think that much too often we all tend to forget that. There has already been some Oscar buzz around this film; I'm not sure that I agree, but I think that it is a story worth telling (especially for our younger generation). Even if you don't make it to the theater, I urge you to put it on you "must rent" list.
There were so many stars in this film that it felt like a Hollywood casting office. This film was a jumble of story lines that somehow crashes together in the end. I really like all the actors in the film, but the film itself lacked substance. I think that director Garry Marshall took it a little too far when he got Matthew Broderick to make a cameo appearance as Mr. Buellerton. Really, Garry? This film reminds me of the other slapped together film that Garry directed (Valentine's Day). What happened to the brilliance that Garry displayed in films like Pretty Women and Beaches? There were a lot of Oscar-winning actors in this film such as Hillary Swank (Claire Morgan), Robert De Niro (Stan Harris), Halle Berry (Nurse Aimee) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Ingrid). I know that these people did not need a paycheck, so why would they want to add this film to their resume? Ashton Kutcher (Randy) is a man who hates New Year's Eve (as we can tell from the trailer). I think he hates New Year's Eve because he read the script. And another thing . Why was Ashton wondering around New York City in his pajamas? I've been to New York City in the winter and this is not even close to being believable. I do have to make a comment about Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Kim. I can understand her having a teenage daughter, but what I cannot understand is the inappropriate love interest she ends up with. He is much too young for her (but who am I to talk smile). I love SJP from way back from her Sex In The City days, but come on!!! The only character that was slightly believable was Hailey (Abigail Breslin), who acted pretty much like a typical teenager. The rest of the story lines were just pure nonsense. Emma's daughter-in-law brought her baby to the film and he slept through the whole thing. I felt like I could have done the same thing. I hate to say it (not really) but the best parts of this film were the outtakes at the end of the movie. If you feel like you need to see this film, I recommend that you wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it. I am not celebrating and I refuse to do a count-down for this film and am giving it a red light.
I was not surprised to read that this film was based on actual events. I am sure that these situations have played out numerous times when it comes to mulatto children. The one thing that did surprise me is that Kevin Costner felt so strongly about this film that he financed it himself (along with his wife). Being mulatto myself I was happy to see that a film that broached the subject was finally being made and it could not have come at a better time with all the racial issues of recent days. Mr. Costner recommended that you see this film with someone that does not look like you; and I agree. This film is about two grandparents that deeply love their granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell). With the death of Elliot Anderson's (Kevin Costner) wife, Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer) feels like she would be the better person to raise Eloise than Elliot and the battle ensues. Rick Reynolds (Bill Burr) is engaged to handle Elliot's case and Jeremiah Jeffers (Anthony Mackie) is representing Rowena. Both of these attorneys have their hands full because both Elliot and Rowena have issues of their own. The character that I enjoyed the most was Duvan Araga (Mpho Koako) who is the tutor hired by Elliot to help Eloise stay focused on her studies among other things. The theater was pretty packed and I think that everyone in the theater was enjoying the film. You can tell that it is a good movie when everyone else reacts the same way that you do to certain situations. This film has the potential to generate a lot of dialog which I think was the intent to begin with. I had never heard of writer/director Mike Binder, but I think that after this film, his name will be more recognizable in the future. What I got out of the film is that it is not Black OR White .. It is Black AND White. I think that the entire cast did an excellent job and I would highly recommend this film to everyone.
The first thing that I want to say about this film is that I am always thrilled to see anyone that is local get to display their creativity to a wide range of viewers. The Oversimplification of Her Beauty was very insightful and left you feeling like you really learned something about relationships and how they may (or may not) evolve. I think that the relationship issues that were discussed in this film are very relatable and Nance did a great job of communicating them through various types of illustrations. The comedic aspect of the film kept the audience engaged and the animation (in its many forms) kept the audience wondering what the heck he will think of next. I really liked the analogy of the making of the bed and how similar it is to creating a relationship (wrong wood, bad evaluation, not everything fitting together, etc.). I thought that part of the film was brilliant. I think that movie fans that enjoy the more eclectic "off-the-beaten-path" movies would really enjoy this film. Every time the film would pause and restart, it was like you were getting to watch another short film and all the short films put together made for a maturing feature film. I want to say that I love the support that Nance received from his community and you could tell by some of the reactions in the theater that some of the folks on screen were very familiar to the audience. I think that as a Nance's debut film, he did an excellent job and I am excited to see what he will come up with next.
This film pretty much picks right up where the last one ended with very little time lapse. Jeanine's (Kate Winslet) has issued an order that all divergents need to be killed until her soldiers find a box that was kept in Tris (Shailene Woodley) parents' house and she has discovers that she will need a divergent to open it. Tris, Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller) have found refuge in a little village governed by Johanna (Octavia Spencer) until the hunting begins. Eric (Jai Courtney) and Max (Mekhi Phifer) have retained their blind loyalty to Jeanine; however I think that Eric has gotten even nastier whereas Max is just trying to do his job. I have to say that loyalty is a big element in this film .. you just never know. This film actually kept up a good pace and there was very little lull time. They said that there would be a lot more action in this film. I don't know about "a lot" more, but there was definitely more than the last one. I was also glad to see that Tris was no longer wimpy when it came down to fighting, however emotionally she was feeling pretty guilty. They really beat that dead horse throughout the film. I did not see this film in 3D, but because of all the special effect, that might have been a mistake. Man, computer generated imagery has sure come along way. It really makes me look forward to some of the upcoming films this summer like Jurassic World and Terminator. I am happy for my fellow German director Robert Schwentke who has successfully bounced back from that armpit of a film, Rest in Peace Department, RIPD for short, that he directed back in 2013. You can only go up from that one. Anyway, I think that this film will do well especially with the "tween" crowd; and once you've invested in the series it's kind of hard to not find out what happens next. Do I think that this film was one of the best films I've seen this year . Nope, but it was entertaining and didn't suck. I don't recommend that you see this film if you haven't seen Divergent. This one holds its own, but you'll enjoy it more if you've seen the first one.
I was really looking forward to seeing this film and it did not disappoint. Although Happy Feet Two was not as good as its Oscar-winning predecessor, there were still plenty of toe-tapping moments. I liked the fact that the songs were recognizable. I am sure that L. L. Cool J is just tickled pink that they included his "Mama Said Knock You Out". In this film Mumble (Elijah Wood) is all grown up and learning how to be a better father to his son Erik (Ava Acres). Erik was just the cutest little thing and he pulls at your heart-strings right from the beginning. The main story line was a good one, but I think that I found the story between Bill the Krill (Matt Damon) and Will the Krill (Brad Pitt) even more entertaining. Those two had their own thing happening. I liked the way that the writer (George Miller) had two stories going on at the same time and the fact that they blended together in the end was excellent. I think that you have to have a lot going on to keep the attention of kids these days. I did not see this film in 3D, but you could tell by some of the scenes that the price of a 3D ticket might have been worth it for this film. The animation in this film was simply stunning. Animation has come a long way since Casper the Friendly ghost (I'm dating myself, huh?) Anyway, it was great. It was also refreshing to see the development of numerous female characters in this film such as Gloria (Pink) and Carmen (Sofia Vergara). I have to give props to the ladies. Robin William's character, Ramon had me cracking up throughout the film. It is not surprising that Robin really knows how to make his characters stand out since he has done numerous voice projects in the past (Genie in the Aladdin films, Dr. Know in A.I. and Fender in Robots). This film contains numerous life-lessons that I think that the target audience will understand (one person can make a difference, keep your promises, don't run away from home, etc.). If you enjoyed the first Happy Feet, then you will also enjoy this one (just not as much). Anyway, I say put on your dancing shoes, shake a tail feather and go out and see this film. I am giving this film a green light.
I find it hard to believe that this film could not find a distributor and stayed in a holding cell for four years. Multiple personality films have always done well (The Three Faces of Eve, Sybil) and have garnered the lead actresses in both an academy award. Halle Berry (Frankie) was outstanding in channeling the other personalities trapped inside her head. As with all split personality films there is always some tragic event that occurs in the early years of life that fosters personalities to protect the host. This film was set in the 1970s and I have to say the wardrobe and locations were pretty accurate (from what I can remember). I even found myself singing along with some of the music. The fact that a straight-jacket and hypnosis was going to be involved was a no-brainer. The constant flashbacks also did not come as a surprise, but I think that the way that Halle managed those scenes is what made them memorable. Stellan Skarsgard (Oz) is the physician who takes a personal interest in Frankie's case and is responsible for getting to the heart of the issues. Phylicia Rashad (Edna) and Chandra Wilson (Maxine) are Frankie's mother and sister who are either in denial or assisting in a cover-up, or both. It was refreshing to see a film that wasn't tethered with CGI. It's kind of rare these days. Do I think that this film could have been shown on Lifetime ., sure, but I'm glad that it wasn't. The reason why is because anytime you can get a film on the big screen that contains a decent amount of diversity of actors (that isn't about slavery or servitude) then I'm all for it (I'll get off my soapbox now). The story held my attention and there were no areas of lag time. Of course I was trying to figure out what caused the personality split from the beginning. I have to say that this one kept me guessing until the end. I think that knowing that this is a true story adds to the appeal of the film and I was thrilled that the film explained what happened to the actual people at the end. I asked a few people after the movie, what they thought of the film and they all pretty much said the same thing; they liked the film, but it wasn't what they were expecting. I concur.
This film is basically about having fun and creating scenes where things seem to be a little bland. The main character followed in this documentary is Charlie Todd who created "Improv Everywhere". The original stunt was that his friends rode on the subway with no pants on. I do not remember when the initial train ride took place, because it was apparently no big deal; but I do remember hearing about it when there were several arrests during one such occurrence a few years later. There are many more created scenes in this film and I remember most of them. One of my favorites (even to this day) is the frozen subway; where about a hundred people at a particular time scattered themselves throughout Grand Central Station in New York City and they stood immobilized for approximately five minutes. Then all at once everyone started moving again. It would have been so cool to be there for that one. However, I have to agree with one of the commentators that I would not have wanted to be kissing someone at the time. I think that would be very hard to do. I also think that the hypnosis stunt was pretty disturbing, but the more I think about it the funnier it is. This film addresses some folk's fears of hypnotist; which is that they hypnotize you and then they leave you that way. Like I say, disturbing yet funny. I also found it interesting (but not surprising) that the stunts became more popular as the technology evolved. Since there was no way to show the stunts that you had just filmed, the only way that you could tell people about what happened was when you wrote about it. Now this is called a blog; but then you had to build your own web page using html and it was very difficult to do, so I guess Charlie was very much determined that this is what he wanted to do. I also thought that it was ironic that the company that was the first to support him, then . turn him down, then . got re-interested when the videos started going viral, then .. interviewed him again to congratulate him on his success. Crazy. I also like the fact that they explained the difference between flash mobs and Improv Everywhere. For the most part, flash mobs have pretty much died out, but I bet that once a year, folks will still be riding the subway without pants .
The story portrayed in this film is pretty much spelled out in the trailer. Crazy escaped convict terrorizes a woman and her kids. That's pretty much it, but there is a nasty little twist in the story that I did not see coming (although I did have a feeling). You know . When you ask yourself "surely it isn't this" and come to find out . Oh yes, it is. I have to give Colin (Indris Elba) a lot of credit for playing it super cool to make his way into the house. Although you knew he was the "bad" guy who is eventually going to snap, you kind of find yourself liking him for a little while (with his fine self). Terri (Taraji P. Henson) was a relatively smart women who made some serious errors at the beginning of the film, but had I not known in advance what was going to happen, I probably would not have thought that she did anything wrong. She was just trying to be nice and do the right thing. Meg (Leslie Bibb) is Terri's best friend and she drove home the point that no one knows you better than your best friend. At first I thought that she was going to be a little ditzy, but she proved me wrong. Jeffrey (Henry Simmons) is Terri's husband who does not seemed to be vested in the relationship. This is very apparent right from the beginning. I went to the 2nd showing on the day the film was released and I have to say that the theater was pretty well populated. The one thing that I have to say about seeing a film with a diverse crowd is that folks talk (out loud) to the people on the screen (myself included). Toward the end of the film I heard myself saying "how does she think that's going to work" and then immediately after that I said "why does he think that worked" ... you'll see what I mean when you go to see it. Other than that, there are three reasons why I liked this film ., the great lead characters, the consistent flow of the film and finally the whole story was told in around 90 minutes. This is director Sam Miller's first attempt at a widely distributed feature film and I think that he did a pretty good job. I would recommend it to a friend.
I have to say that I liked this version of Sparkle better than the original and I am definitely glad that they changed the story up a bit. This film is very predictable, but I did not care. I think that the cast that was assembled for this film did an excellent job. I have to admit that my main reason for going to see this film was because I wanted to see Whitney Houston in her swan song performance. Whitney (Emma) did an outstanding job in this film and I have to admit that when she sang I got a little (okay, a lot) choked up. Not just because she was singing but because I realized how much I missed her. Jordan Sparks (Sparkle) was made for this role. With this being her film debut, I am sure that we will be seeing a lot more of Jordan on screen. Carmen Ejogo (Sister) almost stole the show along with Mike Epps (Satin). Both were captivating and although you knew from the start where this relationship was heading, it did not matter because you wanted to see it play out. When Michael Beach (Rev. Bryce) hit the screen, I was looking at him and I knew that I had seen him on screen before, but I just could not place him. Whoever did his make-up did a darn good job. Tika Sumpter (Dolores) has come a long way since her days on the television soap One Life to Live. She is the "grounded" sister of the bunch and demonstrates that by having clear goals set and a strong sense of self. Derek Luke (Stix) is the group's manager and Sparkle's love interest who is just trying to do the right thing. I do have to say that there were some faux pas in the film. There were times that the group was singing without mikes and the half-naked dress would have never been acceptable during that time (I don't think). By the way, there was a women sitting in my row that was singing along with all the songs that she remembered (I was cracking up). Do I think that this will be the film of the year? No, but I do think that Director Salim Akil did a good enough job to warrant the price of a ticket. One last thing, I also got choked up again when Jordan sang at the conclusion of the film. I will be downloading that one. I give this film green light.
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