Blog Archives

At The Movies: How To Be Single

how to be single, book journey,Last weekend my cousin Cheryl and I had lunch and then went to a movie.  We decided to see How To Be Single.  I adore Leslie Mann, I think she is so funny, and Rebel Wilson was first introduced to me in the movie Pitch Perfect (which I love love LOVE).

Let’s bring you up to speed… (Note trailer is a bit “R”) – skip it if you just want my review:)

I have to admit, the movie was really funny.  Yes there is some crude language, but I have to say it is not a crude movie.  Last month I seen Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and IF I decide to review it is will not be favorable.  That movie was raunchy.

In case you skipped the trailer here is my cleaner version of what is happening…

After four years of college and being with the same sweet guy the whole time, Alice (Dakota Johnson), decides she needs to explore the dating world a bit before she settles down forever with Josh.  Excited to give her new singleness a try, she moves out of her apartment to live with her older sister (Leslie Mann) in New York for awhile and finds a job as a paralegal.  Her co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson) decides Alice needs to loosen up a bit and learn what New York is all about.  With Robin as her undesignated guide, Alice is taught how to get free drinks, be non committal, and feel the freedom of being single in the city that never sleeps.

But when it gets right down to it, is this really what Alice wants?

I thought this was a really sweet movie. It is hilariously funny, but at the same time there is actually a story line running through along side that keeps the movie real at the same time.  The casting was wonderful.  Dakota Johnson can pull off the right level of innocence, and really if you have watched anything with Rebel Wilson in it, you know she can be outrageous in funny ways.  Leslie Mann provides a nice level between the two actresses as she is a single, well educated, and successful woman who has found she does not need a man or a child to feel fulfilled… or maybe not. 😉

If you do mind a little sexual humor, I would recommend seeing this movie.  This movie is rated R for language, not for visual happenings.  In fact if you watched the movie without hearing it, it would be PG13.  I only bring up the language because I want to be sure you know what you are about to hear, however if you watch the trailer you will have a sample of what I am talking about, it really doesn’t get over the top bad.

Recommended.

 

Paper Towns The Movie Based Off John Green’s Book Of The Same Title

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Its been a long time since I have had a lazy day where I have spent a Saturday morning or afternoon watching movies, but that is what I did today.  Granted a miserable head/sinus cold, fever, and drowsy feeling helped.  So me, a couple of books to movies (Paper Towns an Scorch Trials), hot tea, Kleenex, and I was set.

Paper Towns is a book by John Green.  When I first started reading John Green I was told that your first John Green book will be your favorite.  I never was able to test that theory because my first John Green was Fault In Our Stars and yes, it is my favorite.

Paper Towns the movie was actually better than I thought it as going to be.  I had forgotten about the great friendships displayed in this book.  I also really enjoyed the lead roles of Margo and Quentin,  it was a good fit from the book to the movie.

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Looking over my review today of Paper Towns I found I had the same thoughts about the movie that I did about the book.  Margo frustrated me then and she does now.  I think I understand why she does what she does but at the same time her ability to disconnect from everyone baffles me.  As in my review, I found the friendships in the movie to sustain me and leaving me enjoying both.

 

Overall movie thoughts?  Yes, rent it.  Its a good story and in the end, while it is not the end I would have hoped for…. it still leaves a good impression and message.

Not So WILD about WILD (My thoughts on the movie)

WILD, Reese Witherspoon, Book Journey, movie, Minnesota

I had recently read listen to on audio and reviewed the book WILD by Cheryl Strayed.  I had mentioned at the time the draw that I have always had to do something like this – just escape and be with me… whoever I am at that particular time in my life and try to really get to know…

me.

I am fascinated with those who do it.

After finishing the audio book I rented the movie.  I usually appreciate a movie version to a book – I like to see the creative vision the directors come up with and how they bring an authors work to the screen.  Here, are my thoughts…

What I liked:

Reese Witherspoon rocked this role playing Cheryl Strayed.  I enjoyed her performance very much and I like that Cheryl is a Minnesota native.  I also, as I did in the book, liked that while much of the time Cheryl was alone hiking the trail – she met interesting people when she crossed into towns.  For the most part I found her very brave to rely on help from a stranger… and of course there is one part where I find her super cool but also crazy to hike the trail alone and have already decided if I ever did something like this I would have to have a friend along… or several friends who switch out throughout the process…. alone can be dangerous.

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What I did not like:

I mentioned in the book that I was not too thrilled with her (Cheryl’s) problems with being faithful to her husband and the talk of her sex life with multiple men.  For some reason I thought someone had told me that was not the case in the movie but CLEARLY I got that part wrong as the sex was even more prominent in the movie.  Thank you to Stacy who warned me in a comment to skip the movie, by the time I read the comment I had finished watching the movie. 😉

 

My take away –

Yes, I think the book is worth reading.  It is inspiring to see how Cheryl hits rock bottom in her life and how she turns herself around through this almost cleansing process of the 3 months hike.  3 months is a pretty impressive endeavor!  The movie was good, but if the sex stuff bugs you like it does me… be satisfied with the book.  At least in the book it is not so graphic and you skip those parts if you choose.

Movie: Jurassic World

Jurassic world, Book Journey

On July 4th Al and I were keeping our day pretty low key.  We stayed close to home and then in the afternoon decided to go and check out the movie Jurassic World.  I grew up around the Jurassic movies and remember the excitement of imaging that such a park could exist and of course, the implications around having such a park exist.

 

We really enjoyed the movie.  It was like the next generation of Jurassic Park.  They were trying again to create the park that once failed all those years ago.  Now they were trying to keep up with the ever changing demands of this world – not just wanting to see a dinosaur… but a bigger, scarier, dinosaur then ever seen before.

Super sizing is not always the way to go.

It’s actually a great idea and an apparent win (according to an article I read this morning the movie is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest movies of all time).  Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are pretty amazing in their roles.  Chris playing Owen, the “Raptor whisperer” with the smoking good looks and kick ass attitude, and Bryce playing Claire a stuffy over achiever who is all about her job and has little time for anything or anyone else.

If you get the chance – see this one at the theater for the BIG screen feel.  We went to the 3D version (mainly due to the timing) and found it to be well done.

Insurgent: The Movie

Insurgent, Divergent, Book Journey

Now that the factions are scrambling for safety and the world is literally in chaos, Tris and Four are trying to stay safe all the while knowing that the only way anyone will have hope of feeling safe is once Jeanine is dead.  In this world, you never know who you can trust.

 

A friend and I went to Insurgent this week.  I had read the book, as well as Divergent (the first book) and had been impressed with what they had done in the first movie.  Shailene Woodley (who also starred in Fault In Our Stars) makes an excellent Tris and I love the diversity in the roles that she plays.  Theo James as Four is a new actor to me although I see he was also in Underworld and an episode of Downton Abby so I must have seen him.  Theo is also perfect for the role that he plays in the movies.

I really enjoyed this second installment of the Divergent Series.  I have yet to read the third book due to grumblings I heard when it came out about how they should have just ended it at two books.  I have a year before the next movie will come out (Allegiant) which I see will be broke into two parts (the new trend to S T R E T CH out our movie addictions I guess.  I will read the final book before then.

I enjoyed the movie, I can not recall the book well enough to do a comparison, but I love the action and the story line. Kate Winslet gets kudos from me for playing the evil mastermind rule keeper of all (she is the equivalent of President Snow from Hunger Games).

Overall:  AWESOME SAUCE.  If you like YA Dystopia even if you have not red the books, see these movies.  They are kickin.

 

The Duff… The Movie, The Book, And How My Opinion Has Changed

The DUFF, Book JOurney

Yesterday my cousin and I went to this movie.  I wanted to go because:

1.  I met the author my first year at the book Expo in 2010 (she was 17 at the time)

2.  I read the book and was not a fan.

 

Book Synopsis:

1aBianca has two popular and gorgeous best friends.  The three have hung out together for years and while Bianca does not care about fashion or getting up two hours early to do her hair and make up for school it has always been a non issue.

Until now.

At a party, the hot popular guy that Bianca has her eye on, Wesley Rush takes advantage of Bianca’s feelings for him and then tells Bianca she is the DUFF of the group.  Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  Naturally Bianca is offended, but Wesley says not to take it so literally, it just means that she hangs out with friends that are much hotter than herself, making her the approachable one to get information.  Wes explains that every group has one.

Over the next few days Bianca starts to notice that what Wes said might be true.  Guys did approach her to get information on her friends dating status. With Bianca’s home life a mess with her fathers alcoholism and no one really to turn too Bianca throws all caution to the wind and sets her eyes on a goal that seems impossible…

Wes.

 

Ok that was based off the book synopsis…. the book had quite a few teenage sexual encounters and Bianca although being put down by Wesley could not seem to stop herself from coming back for more.  I did read this book almost 5 years ago now so a lot of the details are fuzzy, but I do remember not liking all the extreme sexual content.  I also did not like the idea of what a word like DUFF could do to a young girls image… if a young girl already had self esteem issues, reading this book I feared could make her even more so.

 

the movie synopsis was somewhat QUITE a bit different.

Movie synopsis:

Bianca has two popular and gorgeous best friends.  The three have hung out together for years and while Bianca does not care about fashion or getting up two hours early to do her hair and make up for school it has always been a non issue.

Until now.

Bianca goes to a party at the most popular girl in schools home it hopes to see her crush Toby.  When her hot neighbor the popular Wesley Rush that Bianca can not stand tells her that she is the DUFF of her group of friends, Bianca is offended.  She leaves the party early.  At home she has no one to talk to as her divorced mother is a published Life After Divorce guru with her mind set on publicity events and what to wear.  Bianca decides if she is not part of a group she will not be the duff, so she proceeds to dump both of her bewildered best friends.

Bianca makes a deal with Wesley to help him with his failing grade in science if he helps her to sharper up her image to get Toby’s attention.  By working together the two discover they have more in common then they thought.

 

The movie is a lot different from the book.  There is no sex (YAY!).  Bianca’s dad is already out of the picture in the movie (probably due to the alcoholism and divorce). Wesley is not an ass, in fact quite likable and you route for him.  Madison, the popular mean girl ex girlfriend/girlfriend of Wesley is an awesome addition to the movie but does not appear in the book.  There is also a funny teacher who really takes Bianca under his arm who also does not appear in the book.

 

While book (my original review) and movie are different, the ending good message is the same.  It was curiosity that made me see the movie made from this debut book, and I am glad I did.  The movie is really funny.  My cousin and I laughed out loud many times.  To me it flowed better than the book did, but at the same time it gave me a new appreciation for the book and it’s overall message.

See the movie – at a PG13 rating it is a fun one and yay to author Kody Keplinger!  What an exciting moment this has to be!

 

**Fun Fact:  At the end of the movie there is a quick cameo from author Kody Keplinger.  If you do not know what she looks like you may miss it.

 

American Sniper – The Movie

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Just this weekend I had the opportunity to go and see American Sniper with my husband.  You may think that he picked the movie, but it was actually my pick.  I am not a fan of war movies, however this is a true story and an incredible one at that.  I want those of you who think like me that a war movie is a guy thing… let me just say not always.  Do not write this movie off.

The basic synopsis is that Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) has always been an overachiever.  When he sets his mind to do something he fully plans to do it right and go all the way.  When he joins the Navy Seals he does it because he wants to protect his country.

Before he leaves to be part of the war efforts on Iraq after 911, he meets his future wife Taya,(played by Sienna Miller).  They fall in love, get married and start a family.  While Taya is pregnant, Chris is fighting for his life and his country.

Chris in all does, 4 tours.  While this is the source of many arguments with his wife who feels he has given enough to his country and it was time for him to give to his family, Chris finds he can not let go.  As in his obsessive nature, he knows that he can save lives.  And he knows he can not do that form the comfort of his couch and home.

 

 

You may know the rest of the story.  In fact it is in the news right now.  It is a powerful story about love and loss and truly giving it all.  It honestly broke my heart.  The movie is about the war yes, but it is also about one man’s desire to save every life he can.  Chris Kyle becomes known as the deadliest sniper in America with 255 kills.

Yes you do see some graphic details of the war, yet coming from someone who is sensitive to things like that, the movie as a whole far out weighs that.

I highly recommend seeing this movie.  I recently purchased the audiobook and plan to listen to that soon.

 

 

 

 

Petals On The Wind – Movie Thoughts

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I grew up on VC Andrews books…. in fact last year, my first book of the year was the first book in this series, Flowers In The Attic.  I reread it because the movie was coming out and I wanted to have the story line fresh in my head.  Recently, I discovered that Petals On The Wind (the second book) was now a movie as well.  I rented it and …

~Sheila

To bring you up to speed… Flowers in the attic is about four children that are placed in the attic of their very rich grandparents home and kept there for two years due to their mother marrying a man who was practically her brother and the grandmother saying the children were the devil’s spawn. When the children’s father is killed in a car accident, the mother has no choice but to return to her childhood home which she hated, looking for help to survive.  The grandmother allows her to stay with stipulations, in order for the mother to get her inheritance, the now sickly grandfather was never to know that children were born of this union. The children must be kept hidden until the grandfather’s passing. Thus… the attic.

In the attic, are the two older siblings, Chris and Cathy (who are in their upper teenage years), and the twins Cory and Carrie, who are 5 when they enter the attic.  Basically, the over closeness of the children causes the two older siblings to become a little too close, and in the mother’s twisted obsession with her inheritance, she tries, and succeeds in poisoning one of her children, Cory dies at the age of 6.

Flash forward to the Grandfather dying, and the mother has now met a man who also has money and she has told him that she was unable to have children.  While the children are now to be set free of the attic, their mother has instead abandoned them to the care (ha ha) of their cruel grandmother.  The children finally escape out an attic window…

Ok…

In Petals On The Wind, now Chris and Cathy are adults living with their younger sibling Carrie (who is in her mid teens).  Chris is learning to be a doctor, and Cathy is performing in the ballet.  In the movie we are missing how they got from point A to point B, which is that they were discovered while on the run by a maid who took them to where she was employed and after the children shared their true story with her employer, he took them all in. He was a doctor, and put Chris in medical school, Cathy in ballet school, and Carrie in a private school. At the opening of this movie, the man who took them in has passed away.  There is much straying from the book at this point so from here I will go with the movie version…

Chris and Cathy are still very fond of each other, and while Chris does not want any other woman, Cathy knows she needs to move on from her improper love of her brother.  She meets a man in the ballet who promises her advancement, and she moves in with him.  Hurt, Chris meets a girl at the hospital he in interning at (his bosses daughter), and begins to date her.

Oh if only things could have remained that way…. Cathy finds herself in an abusive relationship as her new man in jealous and a drinker.  When her younger sister Carrie asks to move in with them, things get worse.  Chris meanwhile feeling pressured, has asked his girlfriend to marry him, although he knows he is still in love with his sister.

Think all that is twisted?  You haven’t heard nothin’ yet…

SO the movie.  I was impressed.  I have not reread this book so had little recollection of all the details of the book to go on.  (I read a synopsis today to remind me of the book, and then I picked up on all the differences between book and movie).  While it is not accurate to the book, it has the same bones.  I found myself totally engaged with the story line.  The acting was wonderful,  I actually found this movie to be better than Flowers In The Attic (although you really do need to watch both to get the full story).

I have to say I loved these books as a teenager but do not remember them being so uhhh…. graphic.  It is funny now to think that I read these books all those years ago when even by today’s standards they would be considered… risky.

I do recommend the movie to those of us who know the books.  I think they are a wonderful compliment to the original story and add a whole new twist of creepy when you see it played out on the screen.  If you have not read the book… I recommend them.  There are 5 books in the series and I do not recall if I went beyond the third, If There Be Thorns or not.  Perhaps someday I will need to look at this series again.

The Giver Movie Review (Tastes Like Divergent)

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Jonah lives in a society of contentment.  Emotions are a thing of the past and words like love, and emotions like tears do not exist.  Memories of the past do not exist.

When Jonah reaches the age of 16 he and his classmates now graduate and receive their positions in society – not like the sorting hat in Harry Potter (darn!) ( a little like what happens in Divergent except in The Giver they do not have a say as to where they will wind up).  Jonah is given the rare position of the Receiver, a highly regarded position only held by one person at a time and he becomes the holder of all the memories.

When Jonah experiences for the first time feelings and emotion and memories of what the past was like with happiness and love and dancing he is confused.  Why would this ever be blocked? As the Receiver, we is having the memories passed to him by (you guessed it…) The Giver.

The more Jonah sees what is missing from life the more dissatisfied he becomes with the ways things are.  He learns there is a boundary that surrounds the community that keeps everyone form their memories.  If Jonah can just get beyond the boundary with the memories he can release them back to everyone.  Of course, the powers that be do not want that to happen and will do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t.

 

I read the book, The Giver, for banned book week in 2012.  I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed the movie.  Its a scary scenario to think of a society that represses all memories and emotions for the sale of feeling well…

nothing.

Sorry but if pain is the price to pay to also feel happiness…

then I will take the pain.

 

Definitely worth seeing.

Maze Runner – Movie

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James Dashner’s book, The Maze Runner became a movie this year.  Way to go James!

 

All Thomas knows is that he wakes up in a world he is unfamiliar with.  He is surrounded by other male teens and is welcomed to the Glade.

The Glade?

The Glade, as he learns is a walled in community that protects the group from the Maze.  The Maze is a world of walls and changing routes and creatures that come after anyone who dares to go into the Maze.  Thomas learns that a box appears every 30 days with a male teen in it, Thomas is the latest arrival.  A few, called runners, go into the Maze during the daylight hours (safer than nightfall), looking for a way out of wherever they are.

As Thomas becomes familiar with the surroundings and engages with the other boys, things in the Maze start to change.  Some blame Thomas, saying he is not like them … and Thomas has no idea what that means, he knows as much as they do about The Glade and that is not much.

Then… another person arrives in The Glade.  The box is early… it has not been 30 days and this time it is not a male teen…

it is a girl.

And with her is a note, “This is the last one”.

 

 

I read The Maze Runner a couple of years ago after I met James Dashner in New York and found him to be delightfully funny.  I enjoyed the book very much, yet for some reason I never continued on with the series.  Now, after watching this movie, I will be pursuing the rest of the books… I am hungry to know more.

Author James Dashner and I - New York 2012

Author James Dashner and I – New York 2012

The Maze Runner movie is done very well.  I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it.  Definitely recommend the book, the movie… and the author. 😉

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