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.  😉

Mockingjay Book VS Movie

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Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series came out published by Scholastic in 2010.  As I looked back on my review of this book I had to laugh as I reviewed it three days after it was released…. hmmmm…. anxious to see how it all was going to end?

The Book…

As I mentioned I read the book over 4 years ago.  I did enjoy the book but openly admit it was my least favorite of the three books, mainly due to all the politics that were involved in this final installment.  I am not a fan of politics.That said, I did still enjoy the book very much – author Suzanne Collins does not take mercy on any character and all are dispensable… it was truly a powerful read that left me thinking about it well beyond that final page.

 

The Movie…

I was very excited to watch the movie.  My son had warned me that it wasn’t the most exciting of movies as it is a lot of information that is necessary to prepare us for the part 2 of this movie that will come out in 2015.  I have to say I disagree with my son (sorry Justin).  I did find the movie engaging and perhaps even came to feel more real and explained better to me than the book came through.  I think Jennifer Lawrence plays the part of Katniss perfectly.  On screen she shows such emotion she brings me to tears for the cause.  If you are a fan of the series, definitely take time to see the movie – all the movies.

Bonus note – in the movie Katniss sings a song that is haunting.  Jennifer Lawrence sings the song and I looked it up when I came home and found out Susanne Collins wrote the song.  (WOW!)  I have now heard the song by another artist but prefer Lawrence’s.  Here it is:

Book vs, movie… the winner of this dynamic duel is….

 

The Movie.

While this is a close battle, I think because of my personal struggle with the politics of Mockingjay the visual of the movie worked better for me.  I will definitely be owning this one.

 

Have you seen the movie yet?  Have you read the book?  Do you plan to?  If so do you have a preference of book or movie?

If I Stay Book vs. Movie

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Synopsis:  Mia Hall is a gifted cellist.  She is quite possibly on her way to Julliard and is making hard decision with her boyfriend Adam who plays in a successful band.  Stay or go seem to be the decisions that Mia struggles with.  She has wonderful loving parents and a little brother she adores… there is so much to stay for.  Then one snow day her family takes a drive and is in a terrible accident that leaves Mia in a coma.  Mia has an out of body experience as she sees herself in the hospital.  As everything crumbles around her Mia and only Mia can make the decision if she should stay or if she should go.

 

The Book

I reviewed this book on my birthday in 2011.  Side note.. my reviews are kind of funny then… for myself I rated the book an average read.  It was good and I liked it but it was not over the top WOW.  We reviewed this as a group for my book club and we actually had a wonderful discussion over it, which I talk about in the review.

 

The Movie

I recently watched the movie of If I Stay that came out this year.  I did not think it would be “theater worthy” so I waited for it to come out for rental.  I have to admit I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the movie.  Mia played by Chloe Grace Moretz was wonderful.  I teared up several times during the scenes where she experiencing the pain of seeing what is happening around her.  Adam, played by Jamie Blackley was also exceptional.  Maybe I was just in the right mood for this kind of movie but whatever it was it really touched my heart.

Knowing that time and distance from the reading of the book may have to do with my decision her today I am going to have to say the winner of this Book vs Movie is…

 

Movie.

See it… read it… but if you are going to choose one or the other I think the movie came off as more powerful and emotional.  Dang… it was GOOD.

Movie Review: Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Nighcrawler movie

My synopsis:  Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhall) is desperate for a job.  In a “rainman” style he becomes a bit overly obsessed with whatever he is pursuing.  ON his way home one evening he witnesses a car accident.  When he pulls over he is fascinated by the van that pulls up and takes footage of the accident.  When Lou inquires about what they do with the footage, the driver says that they sell it to the highest bidder.

Lou starts researching how to take great pictures, and as he has no conscience, he has no problem going a step further that the average crime photographers, stepping in a little closer and getting the shots that bring in the money. He starts a working relationship with a news station manager, Nina Romina (Rene Russo).  When she tells Lou that they pay for the shots described as “girl running down street screaming with throat cut”, Lou does his best to bring in the darkest video.

My thoughts:  Smoking good creepy movie!   Most frightening and fascinating is the fact that most of what these paparazzi type camera persons do is legal as long as they do not get in the way of the police and rescue crews.  Of course in the movie, Lou does go too far… WAY too far.  His obsession that leads to the perfect shots, as well as his obsessive interest in Rene Russo’s character, drives him to do the unthinkable…

or is it?

 

 

High action, major car crash scenes, a few gory close-ups…. adventure movie enthusiasts should find this movie both disturbing and good – and like a car crash…. hard to look away.  I personally would probably not pursue seeing it again, however I would rent it for my husband as he has not seen it yet and I think he would enjoy it as I did.