Reviews written by registered user
keilanil

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13 reviews in total 
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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Okay-ish acting/directing but an excellent story worth watching, 27 December 2015
8/10

Like the title said, the acting and directing were less than stellar - though not truly bad. The story makes up for the other shortcomings though. At the point that I thought would be the "miracle" point in the movie, it clearly wasn't nearly over. That's when the real story starts.

I love that TC Christensen chose to make this story into a movie. We need more positive and inspirational movies. Despite the fact that I'm a big fan of theater, love movies, and get frustrated by little inconsistencies or less than accomplished actors, I loved this story enough that I would take it over a very well acted and directed movie with no moral value.

We watched it with three of our sons, ages 9, 13, and 17 and the 13 year old said at the end (in his best disgusted-that-anything-tugged-at-my-emotions voice) "Well THAT made me really happy!"

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not for purists but otherwise fascinating and unique perspective of the story, 5 December 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie had a totally unique take on the "idea" of Frankenstein. If you're a purist you won't like it because it doesn't follow the book, the monster is different (which I actually thought was more accurate) and the story is about the relationship between Dr. Frankenstein and Igor.

Told from Igor's point of view and being as much about who Igor was as it was about Dr. Frankenstein, it was really fascinating. Excellent acting! Radcliffe was a great Igor until about the last quarter where became a little more Harry Potter (poor guy just can't shake that role...). James McEvoy was incredible as Frankenstein. He really played his character well; I saw a slowly going-mad genius instead of seeing any other character he's played (Professor Xavier he was not!), and if it had been the first role I had seen him I would have wondered if he really was a little off his rocker. The inspector was great as well - unfortunately I saw him as Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes and it was hard not to think of him as Moriarty throughout the movie, especially since he kind of morphed into the same sort of control-freak loony as the show progressed so I kept calling him Moriarty in my mind. He was still really good in his role though.

Really interesting movie with several hilarious spots to break up the tension - even funnier because of the unexpectedness (though don't let this make you think it's a comedy because it's not, it just has touches of comedy if you have a slightly dark sense of humor). As usual I was about the only one in the theater laughing at these odd little spots and comments that really were outrageously funny. At one point Dr. Frankenstein finally shows Igor one of the creepy little things he's working on and it's the point where any normal person would run screaming or be gagging and you wait for the big reaction and instead get a comment on how it could have been done better. Just the build up, the way you subconsciously know a person should and would react, and then the casual comment are as a combination really funny. It's those sort of weird and twisted little bits in the show that make occasion for random bursts of laughter.

I loved LOVED the end - this perspective of the creature was my favorite though I can't really say why without it being a spoiler other than the fact that it fit in with my theological beliefs much more than the book or other versions do.

Oh yeah, it was more than a bit gross in parts! A simple medical procedure in the first 15 minutes had me nearly dry heaving! Yeah, I'm that person, show a little bit of mucus or pus or whatever and I'm gagging. If you're a Walking Dead or Game of Thrones fan - you'll be just fine. If you're like me you'll be closing your eyes here and there.

Again, don't expect the story in the book. You have the name, you have the "bringing the dead to life with lightening" and that's about it for similarity. But because of that there is great opportunity to develop some really interesting characters and they picked the right actors to play the roles. I don't see many movies in the theater; I seldom think they're worth paying that price and would rather wait until they're at redbox, but I have no regrets at having paid full price to see this one.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Definitely worth seeing, 19 December 2014
9/10

I am a huge fan of Jim Caviezel but put off seeing the movie because I wasn't up for a sports themed movie and wasn't sure I wanted the soppy tears. The glories of football just don't do anything for me and so then to have football be meaningful? Eeehhh....

However, the day came that there was nothing else at redbox. Boy, this was sure one movie I shouldn't have waited on! I even loved all the football scenes!

This isn't just a sports story, it's a life story. The coach is incredible at teaching and inspiring the team, but somehow has a hard time relating to his family in the same way. He has a true and sincere desire to help teen boys become quality young men, and does a great job of it at school, but then has some difficulty doing the same with his own boys. What parent can't relate at some point to being able to communicate better sometimes with other people's children than with your own?

Despite his great example and efforts, not all the boys are saints. Some are more than a bit spoiled with the fame of their winning streak. Some are phenomenal kids and they make you see why he was so determined to do what he could to help them all become the best they could be. As a football coach, he is clearly excellent, as evidenced by their winning streak. However, he was also excellent at teaching the boys that winning was not the goal, becoming the best they could be was the goal. It sounds Hallmark card schmaltzy, but it's true none the less and the method of teaching was clearly so sincere and honest that you couldn't but help wishing this guy could come to your school and teach your kids - in anything - just so that they learned from him.

The school was a private religious school, the coach also taught religion. If you like to pretend that God doesn't exist and that people who believe in Him are nuts, this is not the show for you. This is based on a true story, these people have a faith and they practice it. It's in the movie. It isn't my faith but I'm always delighted to see other people faithfully practicing what they believe - principals of love and charity and faith and empathy.

I do wish they had delved just a little more into some of the players lives. I guess it makes sense that for a team that big, you really can only introduce a couple of the players very well in the constraints of one movie, but still, it would have been good. Also, as one of the other reviewers mentioned, I would have liked to find out a little more about where the players who had the focus in the movie ended up in their lives.

A great film, for sports fans and non-sports fans alike! Excellent actors picked for each role. I even liked Laura Dern and that is a stretch for me. Really excellent film, it kind of shocks me that Hollywood produced something this clean, inspiring, funny, and engaging but I'm glad they did!

16 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Fingers crossed that it stays this good, 1 October 2014
8/10

The first episode took me completely by surprise! It was so funny. Yes, the white people in it are a bit of a caricature (Seriously, one advertiser asks Dre how (whispered) "black" people would say good morning) but maybe they're the same type of off from a black perspective that black people often are when portrayed from a white perspective.

Maybe it's just because I'm a sociology major but I totally get Dre's frustration, along with his wife and kid's disbelief and disinterest. He has it all. He's well-to-do at a job he loves, he lives in a great house/neighborhood and has an all-American family, and yet he feels his culture/history slipping away. I can see that relating to anyone whose grown-up life is significantly different than their childhood, for good or bad. I grew up in a rural area, on a farm, and I often regret the lifestyle my very suburban kids have grown up in. I want to yank them back to the farm. He is glad to be in better circumstances and neighborhood than where he grew up, but he also doesn't want his kids to lose their history, their background. The great things in his life are erasing other things that may not have been as great, but were still part of making him who he is.

His wife is multicultural, whatever that means, bi-racial, however you want to put it. She thinks he's a little nuts to miss the "hood" and to try and suddenly get his kids to be more "black". His kids are the same as most kids these days (thank goodness), they have dropped color as a major factor, often even as a minor factor. Unfortunately for minorities, that also means losing culture as they homogenize into the dominant culture, white. However, it also means seeing people as people, not as colors or ethnicity.

His dad (the grandpa) is a little of both. Maybe used to be the strong black man, go Malcolm X and black power, but he also enjoys the cushy life he's living now. His comments and his lifestyle clash, but in a way that's okay, it's just part of who he is. At one point when Dre wants to come up with a "black" coming of age ceremony for his son, his dad nails it with a comment about how they're not African. They don't have that history, suddenly trying to adopt cultural customs from Africa, which is not even just Africa, it is multiple countries, peoples, and customs and traditions, just doesn't work. You can't invent a history and culture for yourself that never existed. He's multi-generational American, just black American, not African American. But still, I can feel for his desire for some sort of cultural background that feels solid. I'm multi-multi-generational white. My ancestors come from at least 10 different northern European countries. I often look at Hispanic cultures and some of their traditions and wish I had a little more something in my background other than just plain white vanilla. But that doesn't mean if I suddenly adopt Irish or Norwegian customs it will really be me.

Yeah, sorry, too long and too much philosophizing. I got it, I loved it. And besides that, it was really really funny. I laughed all the way through. Even my husband laughed out loud and he's more of a quiet chuckle sort of guy, seldom laughs out loud. I really hope this show stays the same, sharp observances of evolving social gray areas, loving and close knit family, people being people, and funny. And at least so far it was clean. Most "family" sitcoms are not something I would let my kids watch, I don't watch them. I would love to see something like this that stays clean so I can invite the kids in for a family show.

Gambit (2012/I)
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Delightfully funny and full of one liners!, 31 August 2014
9/10

I'm not sure why it got so many low ratings. It's one of those movies I've passed over many times, despite my love for Colin Firth, because reviews were so low. Finally, Redbox sold out of anything better, I gave it a try and now I'm so glad I did.

If you're looking for Oceans 11 or The Italian Job type intricacies in the plot, it isn't going to happen. However, it's still cute and interesting with enough of a twist to be worth it. Where this show really shines is in the hilarious writing - the insults and comments are really really funny - and in the acting abilities of Colin Firth and Alan Rickman. Both do tremendous jobs. Colin Firth can take impossibly stupid situations, the kind Steve Martin and Ben Stiller do, situations almost painful in how absurd and moronic they are, and yet he makes them hilarious. A guy on a hotel ledge several stories up, no pants, is old old old, but Colin Firth makes it remarkably entertaining, as if this is the first time you've ever seen that scenario in a movie. Alan Rickman plays a SOB like no one else and he's the total jerk you love anyway (think his Sheriff of Nottingham role) because he's just so good at it and his muttered comments and blatant insults keep you busting out in laughs. I got to the point I was jotting down some of the lines in the show, and thinking I may need to go back to the beginning to write down others, because they're absurd, clever, and all-together brilliant.

If you need lots of intricate plot twists and details - maybe not for you. If you enjoy understated yet remarkably hilarious verbal humor, witty comeback, diverting insult and repartee, ridiculous colloquialisms and a few side-splitting guffaws, this is the show for you.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Watch it!, 10 June 2014
8/10

I put off watching this show for a long time also. Not because of the rating but because it seemed like something "nice" but without zing, so something else always became the first choice. I shouldn't have waited. This was delightful!

Such a sweet story jumping in time between two generations of family and showing the developing relationship in family separated time and then also the relationships developed between people in a family separated by disagreement and social expectations as well.

An ending that is a little too pat and also not at the same time. Expected but good anyway. These British time period pieces always tempt me and this one was perfect, so well done, did not disappoint.

Such a lovely show, perfect actors, wonderful.

7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Impressive show, 2 June 2014
9/10

I had seen previews for this show many times without ever being interested. I can't even remember why I looked up James Cavaziel, but I pulled up this show out of curiosity because it seemed such an unlikely fit. Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Liam Nieson - these are the guys that come to mind for the role of a damaged good guy. The tough quiet "been pushed too far" good guy who doesn't enjoy killing, but won't hesitate to take out the bad guys either. Cavaziel (to my mind anyway) fits the sincere priest, father, farmer type role. Because of this, he really makes the role his own and is very different, and very impressive. His line delivery is scary in that quiet controlled manner, so matter of fact - gives me chills. I would not want to be the bad guy if he's the guy with the gun and justice on his side. I love this show, it's unique and fascinating. I had thought it was yet another cop/FBI/terrorist type show but it's not. He's a real-life superhero, no super powers other than the ones human beings really can develop through training and a little technology, with a sense of justice that the law never can match. Excellent show, excellent actors.

Philomena (2013)
Definitely see it!, 16 May 2014
8/10

What a beautiful and heartbreaking story. So worth watching. And it has plenty of wry humor with the occasional laugh out loud moments to keep it from being too heavy.

I guess first I'll say this – don't look anything up before hand. I tend to watch movies with my laptop open and going, especially if they are based on a true story/history. Since this is based on a true story, I was googling all kinds of things, which of course gave me a little too much information too soon.

OK, quick synopsis. "Philomena" was one of the girls incarcerated in the Magdalene laundries. This is a part of the story you can google without anything from the movie being ruined. These laundries were run by nuns for decades, in both Ireland and Australia, and apparently there was a similar situation run by the Catholic church in Spain. Girls and women who were considered sinful, wayward, etc. were sent to these nunneries for supposed education and rehabilitation. Instead, they were used for slave labor. Some were girls who had grown up as wards of the state, some were sent there because of petty crimes or because of running away, and some were sent there by their parents after they became pregnant. The situations were horrific, girl's babies were taken from them and sold to adoptive parents, girls and babies died in terrible labor circumstances, the girls were not educated, not fed well, and were treated like criminals. Some were kept there for years, well into adulthood.

The movie is rated PG-13 for two F words and two Irish versions of the F word (fecking). There are the occasional comments that are a bit outré, but overall it's quite a clean movie despite the subject.

Philomena ends up working with a down-on-his-luck journalist to try and find the son that was taken from her when she was locked in the Magdalene laundries. The movie is the story of her search and the relationship between her and the journalist. As usual, Judi Dench is spectacular. If I hadn't have seen her act in so many other movies, it would have seemed like she was just being who I would think she was in real life, a somewhat befuddled older woman with a sad story. She nails the hilarious comments and perspective of an older lady, with the added Irish perspective as well, which can be quite amusing when she is commenting on something American from the Irish perspective.

The humor is wry and very well done. Steve Coogan plays the journalist and also co-wrote the story. He is excellent in the role and the combination of his and Judi Dench's talents is truly wonderful. In addition to the story itself, there are some beautiful human learning moments.

Austenland (2013)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Delightfully funny, 12 October 2013
10/10

I can maybe understand why some guys would rate it low, but really, this was just a very fun, very witty show. I had read the book, and the movie is a bit different, but quite frankly, maybe better. The characters come to life perfectly. Jennifer Coolidge is, as usual, utterly hilarious. Right from the start it is the kind of show with funny little things throughout, subtle humor in addition to the obvious. The romance is sweet, nothing wildly wonderful, but if you're a fan of Jane Austen, definitely enjoyable. The characters themselves are so perfect, hilarious caricatures of people. Each one delightful in their role. As I said, watch closely right from the start and see it with someone who likes to laugh. Oddities abound. Quirks everywhere. I could turn around and watch it again and I seldom want to see a movie twice without a few years in-between showings. In fact, my only complaint is that the ending is different enough from the book that I don't know how they would make the next book into a movie as well.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Funny family movie - actually safe and fun for the entire family., 9 June 2013
9/10

The low star rating meant I held off on this movie for quite some time. My loss. In a Hollywood driven world where everything labeled "family movie" shows how clearly Hollywood has lost touch with what family is and what is appropriate for the entire family to watch, this one is actually a family movie. The whole family (6 people ages 6 to 40) all watched this show and laughed. The closest thing to objectionable in this movie would be fart type jokes. It is actually a clean movie, an abnormality in today's environment.

I think maybe for some it wasn't popular because it hits too close to home. Super yuppie parents who have made their life a icon for pop jargon parenting are forced to ask parents of the Andy Griffith Show generation to babysit for them. These Yuppie parents are over the top. Everything is soy, dairy free, gluten free. One son sees a therapist, the other is so coddled by the parents efforts to make sure he feels his worth that he is never disciplined and is quite bratty. The daughter is in danger of getting an ulcer at age 13 with her over the top high achievement syndrome. The kids email their mother their meal choices, everything is over the top feel good parenting. Those parents really need to read a little Parenting With Love and Logic. In their defense, the parents are sincere and love their kids and seem to truly believe this is the one and only way to parent. Note - my 17 year old son called them sissy parents.

In comes Grandma and Grandpa, a little bit old school but as I would call them, normal. The funny parts are just fun family life. A little slapstick, a little over the top sometimes, but truly funny and the whole family was laughing. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler were their classic funny selves without going over the top. Any reviews that pan these two are off the mark. If you didn't like their style to begin with, you wouldn't like them now, but if you do, these are great performances.

After all the hijinks and misunderstandings come the learning moments. They are really well done. Not heavy handed, not cloying. Parents and grandparents and kids all learn some good things, draw closer to each other, admit wrongs and recognize rights, and again it's done well, it doesn't feel contrived.

Though there are the obvious movie moments (rain just at the right time, a crazy over the top technology house), this really does a good job of entertaining while also showing the true importance and value of family and family relationships. Several things had me laughing my head off at the same time I was thinking "Oh my, do I do that?" I really wish there were more movies like this. My family owns a Clearplay so that we can watch movies without the junk in them. It's frustrating to see "family" shows with so much muted or edited out. It's frustrating to explain to my children over and over why we chose not to watch some things, even edited, and when we do watch some things, to explain parts of the show that really truly aren't family friendly. We didn't have to edit this show, we laughed through it. Well done!


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