Movie Review: Monument Men

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Last weekend for Valentine’s Day Al (hubby) and I went to the movie Monuments Men.  While normally anything has to do with war would be a thumbs down for me, the great movie trailer and the all-star cast had me curious.  It also helped that I had recently read about the Monuments Men while readingThe Roses Underneath by C.. Yetmen).  I am ashamed to say, prior to that reading, I didn’t know such a  group existed.

Monuments Men is about the very real group of Men that were tasked during WWII to go into war-torn areas and save the most important pieces of art and culture of our time.  As said in the movie,

If you destroy their achievements, their history, it’s like they never existed.

"The Monuments Men" - Los Angeles Photo Call

If you are thinking Monuments Men was a cushy job (in reality or in the movie) think again.  These men put their lives at risk right alone side others who fought in the war.  Lives were lost and art was saved….  all in all a brilliant enlightening movie.

 

Now… Monuments Men is not getting the best rating.  Said to be an “aw shucks buddy” type comedy, directed and acted in by George Clooney, it is falling into some poo ratings.  My husband while liking the story of the Monuments Men, was not as impressed with the movie as I was.  Honestly, I may be an easy sell… teach me something new and I want to know more.  Now I want to read the book, Monuments Men by Robert Edsel.

I hope you will give this movie a try.

 

Labor Day Movie Review

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Earlier today I posted about the Bookies getting together this week and going to see the Labor Day movie together.  It really was a lot of fun.  Thirteen of us who had read the book gathered for a chance to see the movie.  This review is my thoughts on the movie.

 

Kate Winslet is wonderful in the role of Adele, a single mom who has been scarred deeply by love.  When she meets Frank, an escaped convict, while making a rare trip to the store for supplies, he leaves her little choice but to take him with her.

Frank (Josh Brolin), is just looking for an escape from a crime that he says was an accident.  While he comes off as frightening at times, he is really just looking to start living again, and soon it is apparent that this life may be with Adele and her 13-year-old son Henry.

What starts out as what appears to be a hostile take over of Adele’s home, turns out into something very different indeed as both Frank and Adele find comfort in each others inability to be a part of the bigger world outside the front door.

 

 

 

I am pleased to say I really enjoyed Labor Day.  I was a little uncertain as I struggled with Adele’s passiveness in the book – but found her to be a stronger woman in the movie and a little more protective of her son.  Both book and movie (IMO) move along a little quickly for a 5 day storyline.  I would also say that some of the flashbacks in the movie are a bit confusing, even though I had read the book and knew what they were about.  I imagine it would be even harder to follow if you had not read the book. 

Labor Day is still a movie I would recommend.  There is some inner depth and hurt in both the main characters that is revealed in such a way that you suddenly understand that this is not a scary movie, but a love story unfolding. There are some wonderful elements to the movie and it is a story line I have not seen done before which is almost always refreshing.

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Book VS Movie

Both book and movie were very close and I liked that.  As I had just recently finished the book, it was still fresh in my mind to pick up on any differences, the differences I noticed were few and in some cases added to my enjoyment of the movie.

What I liked:

Adele comes off as stronger in the movie than in the book.  Not too strong but enough to know that if she had to she would do what she could to defend her son. I preferred movie Adele.

Henry, as I shared in my book review has a bit of a teenage boy obsession with girls and sex. I just didn’t want to read all those details.  I was happy to see that in the movie while they do show he thinks about girls…we did not have to see anything beyond his thinking about them.

What I didn’t like

Frank has more of a frightening presence in the movie at times.  It almost made me wonder if in the end…how innocent was he?

Missing character.  There is a grandmother in the book that plays a short but significant role.  She is not in the movie.

There are subtle differences in the end results, nothing big… nothing disappointing, but tiny tweaks. 

My Labor Day Book Review

Captain Phillips – Movie Review

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In 2009, Captain Richard Phillips, while taking his crew into international waters is hijacked by a small group of Somali Pirates who board the massive ship.  This is the first American ship to be hijacked in over 200 years.

 

Holy smokes.  I went into watching this movie having no knowledge of the ship or of Captain Phillips.  Sometimes I amaze myself how little I know.  😯

The movie is powerful.  It is fast moving and anxiety creating.  I was on the edge of the couch while watching as the Somali pirates led by their leader, Muse, took over this massive ship.  I could not even believe that these 4 pirates in a small motor boat were able to overtake such a massive ship – but they did.  I was amazed that the crew was unarmed. And it is a true story.

If you are looking to watch something AMAZING this weekend I highly recommend renting Captain Phillips.  I will most definitely be watching this one again.  There is also a book (YAY!) called Captain’s Duty.

 

Movie Review: JOBS

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Always fascinated with movies about people who have done amazing things (IE.  I am a huge geek for the Social Network movie about the creation of Facebook), I had to see the movie Jobs.

Jobs is the story of Steve Jobs and his creation (yes yes… I am aware he didn’t do it alone) of Apple computers.  This is a fascinating story because much like what Mark Zuckerberg did for social networking, Jobs did for computers and putting them into our homes – as well as I Tunes, I Pod, I Pad, I Phones…

I feel Ashton Kutcher did an amazing job as Jobs.  If you see the movie (and I hope you do) watch Kutcher’s walk… he has it right down as Steve.

I enjoyed the movie thoroughly was fascinated by the early years how Apple came to be and while Steve was not necessarily the brain that put it all together, he was (and is) the heart and sole of Apple and what I believe made it what it is today.

I listened to Steve Jobs on audio a while back and really enjoyed it.  I have to say I got more out of the audio then I did the movie.  The movie, sadly seems to be unfinished.  Towards the end everything seems to rush together, you see him with his daughter but you have no idea how that came to be… there is a woman in his life and I am not sure who she is, he walks back into Apple makes some big changes and before we even get into I Tunes, the personal computer, I Pod…. it is over.  Ending on a cliff of what is next.  Sure, most of us know what happened next but still…I feel Steve’s story was incomplete and they do not even elude to his death or the cause.

This one probably about a C- rating from me and for that… I am sad.

Catching Fire – The Movie

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On the evening of November 21st, 2013 I was thrilled to go to the opening night showing of Catching Fire.  Catching Fire is the 2nd book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  My review of the book is here. 

Catching Fire is the continuing story line from The Hunger Games.  Now Katniss and Peeta are living back in District 12, still pretending to be in love when in front of the cameras and about to go on tour of the districts as is their duty as the winners of the last Hunger Games.  President Snow has a strong disliking for Katniss, feeling that her heart and her fire for what is right could bring on an uprising, he keeps a close watch on her and monitors what she can say and do when on screen and in front of the people of the districts. In the midst of this battle of Katniss and Snow, a plan is developed that all the tributes will enter the Hunger Games as a “Quarter Quell”, a twist to the 75th anniversary of The Hunger Games. 

And this is when this movie really comes alive.

Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence shows such appropriate emotion throughout the movie that I could not help myself but feel anger when she felt anger and yes, cry when she cried.  (Way to go new director Francis Lawrence!

As the tributes from all districts prepare to go back into the games, Peeta and Katniss are sure that there is no way they will allow for two victors again.  Love or just deep friendship, the two struggle with how they will handle this when the time comes.

Cinna, the creator of the costumes that both Peeta and Katniss wear comes up with an amazing dress for Katniss, which if you have read the books… you know… well…. we will save that for the spoiler page 😉

All in all I found this movie to be even better than Hunger Games and that surprised me.  Of the books, Hunger Games was my favorite and they went down from there. Not that I didn’t still enjoy them, just that was the order they fell in for me and so I did not expect this movie to be loved by me to the extreme that it was. 

If you are a fan of the books, do not miss out on seeing this one on the big screen.  I am pretty sure as soon as I can find someone to go with, I will be seeing it again.

Want to talk about the movie in a bit more detail?  I have wheeled the Spoiler Button out of storage so we can do just that!  If you HAVE seen the movie, join me in the spoiler room to discuss what we loved, what we didn’t, and everything in between.

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Safe Haven (Movie Review)

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Katie (actress Julianne Hough) has had enough of walking on egg shells whenever her husband, Tierney (David Lyons), is near.  The abuse both physical and mental raises to such a level that Katie fears for her life.  One night she decided there is only one thing she can do.

She runs.

After cutting and dyeing her hair, Katie seeks shelter in a small North Carolina town where townsfolk are curious about this newcomer who keeps to herself and has rented the small home in the woods on the outskirts of town.  Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner seems particularly curious about Katie, as she turns down any offer of help he gives for home improvements or transportation.  Eventually Katie befriends another single girl named Jo who lives not far from Katie and becomes a kind of confidant. 

But as Katie is starting to relax into her new life, Tierney has not given up on looking for his wife and the longer it takes to find her the angrier he becomes.  Practically psychotic with thoughts of her with someone else he finds a clue that sets him in the right direction.

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Holy awesomeness!  When I read Safe Haven a few months back, I was so impressed by the book that I was nervous about the movie not living up to it.  I need not have feared.  Once I put this DVD on, I stopped everything and just watched. 

Safe Haven was beautifully done, and while you may think you have it all wrapped up in a neat “Sparks like” bow you will (oh yes you will!) find yourself blown away by a plot twist that is ovation worthy and really took me for a loop – yes, even after I had read the book.  I loved this movie.  The acting was well done, I was fully engaged in the story line – Tierney was every bit of whacked out creepy that I felt he should be for a crazed abusive nut case husband (think Sleeping With The Enemy creepy… and then double it). 

I hope you will consider renting or purchasing this movie.  Not only is a good cold evening chick flick, it also would make for a good couples or girls night in showing.  I was impressed and I will definitely watch this one again.

 

Thank you to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

for the review copy of  this movie in exchange for an honest review.

Books To Movies… “Heck Yeah!” or “Hell’s No!”

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As readers/book lovers I believe we take the reading experience quite personally.  From the discussions I have had here at Book Journey to the discussions I have participated in or just read all over the web, books can touch our very innermost soul.  They make us laugh, cry, become angry, and take us to places we may never step foot in if not for the book.  The characters become a part of us… we may know them, or wish we could know them.  Some books cause us to wear t-shirts saying ‘Team ______________”, and some make us publicly defend their honor.  Some books stay with us for years afterwards, and just thinking of them brings up fond emotions as we gush to a friend, “It’s one of my all time favorites!”

Now… let’s say (Insert a Favorite book title here) is going to become a movie.  Enter Joe the Director (yeah, for this post we will call him ‘Joe’).  Now Joe has big – BIG ideas of how he is going to turn your beloved book into a movie.  He has a vision and you start to hear and see the hub bub of who might play this character or that one….

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BUT (and it’s a big one, I will not lie) what if this Director, Joe Whats-his-face’s vision does not line up with what you or I had felt was the heart of the book?  What if Joe takes the book an entirely different direction and now what you loved, what you admired, seems to be gone…

Are you in camp:

A.  I hate it when my favorite books become movies – it ruins what I loved about the book.  I do not see movies that were made from books.

B.  I am so excited when a book becomes a movie, I LOVE to see what they will bring out on the screen and how their vision may differ from my own.

C.  I am ok with a book becoming a movie as long as they stick true to the nature of the book – like when ____________________ became a movie.

D.  I have no opinion either way…. I am just reading the post to see what you are up to. 😀

E.  Other

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Can you choose a camp you fall into?  Can you name a book to movie that was extremely successful in your opinion?  Can you name a book to movie that was an epic fail?