Tag Archives: movies

Jurassic World: A Worthy Sequel?

Hello everybody, it’s the Movie Dude Toth laughing and scratching at ya once again, and surprise, surprise…there is no two month gap in between my reviews this time! 🙂

Anyhow, on to the matter at hand which is the film Jurassic World. The big question is can the movie re-capture some of magic of the original Jurassic Park? Also, can Chris Pratt continue to carry a movie on his own? The answer to both those questions is….almost and perhaps yes, if he had a better script to work with.

Jurassic World is not a bad movie, although there are some parts of it where it clearly is a bad movie.

If you are a fan of dinosaurs and Chris Pratt you will probably like this movie. If you are not a fan of explosions, dinosaurs screeching, and humans acting stupid then you will not like this movie.

Personally, I thought it was a fun popcorn flick but if you have the choice between this and Mad Max….well the answer should be obvious but if you need more of a hint I’d go with the one that focuses on blood and chrome!

Let’s talk seriously here, most people are going to this movie to see thunder lizards wreak havoc with frail humans who to these creatures are basically annoying insects.

The plot is a secondary consideration and people want to see dinos attacking humans and other dinos. Well on this note the movie delivers and goes gangbusters with the dinotific mayhem!

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for smart dialogue (and a smart story) and a tense thrill ride, the movie does not deliver. No one is more upset about this than me.

The Movie Dude Toth wants every movie that comes out to be awesome, especially ones that centre around human/dinosaur conflict. Alas, except for a few cool action sequences this is not to be with Jurassic World.

How’s the acting you ask? OK to good. If you’re looking for a Starlord encore from Pratt, you will not get it. Bryce Dallas Howard is good, but she doesn’t have a great story or great lines to work with. The two children in the film are typical children characters in this type of movie. They need rescuing and they scream here and there. Oh yes, they also have some emotional conflict to overcome involving their family.

In conclusion, if you are a die hard dinosaur fan then you will like this movie so you should see it.

However, if you liked the original film’s near perfect blend of slightly corny sci-fi, great acting, humour, and amazing special effects then you will be disappointed.

Hey it’s your money, I’m just trying to give you a basic rating based on my not so humble opinion based on years of watching and analyzing movies.

This is the MOvie DUde TOth signing off till later this week when I’ll be tackling the new Pixar film Inside Out.

Toth out!

Movie Night at the Evergreen Cultural Centre

If you are anything like me or Toth The Movie Dude, it is likely you too can’t always find the films you’re itching to see in the local movie theatre. If you are looking for more than the same old Hollywood Blockbusters, you can join the crowds at the Evergreen Cultural Centre throughout this season to experience the best in Independent and World cinema.

Twice a month, the Evergreen will present a curated selection of outstanding and award-winning films not being shown in larger theatres.

The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game

 

On Monday, July 13 (7pm showing) the first movie to play in this series will be The Imitation Game.

One of the greatest stories of our time began back in the darkest days of the Second World War. Alan Turing was a brilliant Cambridge mathematician hired by the British military to break Nazi codes. His work leading a group of misfit geniuses didn’t only shorten the war, it pushed technology to the point where computers could be imagined. But Turing paid a price.

Turing and his colleagues race against time to devise a machine that can crack Germany’s Enigma codes, while Turing himself must work out how to be a gay man at a time when such men are routinely crushed by the law.

Two weeks after The Imitation Game screening The Second Best Marigold Hotel will be shown (that’s on Monday July 27th).

The best part of this movie series? It is FREE for members of the Evergreen Cultural Centre. If you are not yet a member, please join up now!!

The Skeleton Twins; Real Family Comedy

Here is our first movie review by our movie Dude, the Toth. Enjoy it –

“The dog dies at the end?!” Bill Hader responds in mock anger to Kristen Wiig’s accidental give away to the ending of the book Marley and Me. The two former Saturday Night Live alumni star in the new comedy/drama, The Skeleton Twins, about two siblings who are forced to re-examine their lives after they are thrown back together over the period of a few weeks.

The film is often dark and starts out with a suicide attempt that sets up the reunion between the siblings. Bill Hader plays Kristen Wiig’s gay brother Milo who seems to be having one emotional crisis after the other. It turns out Wiig’s character Maggie’s life isn’t that great either even though she is married to easy going Lance played by Luke Wilson.

The Skeleton Twins is a film that has some big laughs that are very well balanced with dramatic moments. It is about relationships and all the positive and negative consequences of being in any kind of relationship. The greatest accomplishment of the film is that both comedic and dramatic moments feel well earned and sincere.

The movie’s secret weapon is the chemistry between Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. These two worked for years together on an ensemble sketch show and were at the top of their game when they left the show.

They have been on the big screen before in 2009’s Adventureland starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. They played a married couple who run the Playland style amusement park Adventureland.

The chemistry in that film was great, but in this film it is flat out amazing. They really do feel like they could be brother and sister. The way that they can convey getting under each other’s skin is incredible to watch. It is also this great chemistry that makes one of the best scenes in the film work so well. I will not give it away but it does involve lip synching. A scene like this would not work unless the audience feels the connection between the two people in the scene. It works perfectly because of all the time that these two actor/comedians have spent together professionally.

Of course, I don’t want to sell the performances, writing, or direction short. This is a well made little film and the director’s choices are spot on, but I will again reiterate that casting the two leads as brother and sisters was a major coup.

I have liked Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in other roles before. Wiig was great in the movie Bridesmaids, and Hader had an amazingly funny cameo as Jason Segel’s married friend in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

However, in The Skeleton Twins they take their performances to the next level.  The movie was filmed over 22 days (which also means there was an amazing editor on board with this crew) and while there was a great script, improvisation was encouraged by the director.

I can easily imagine the two leads having a hell of a good time making this film and interacting with the rest of the great cast which also includes Ty Burrell from Modern Family in a surprisingly powerful performance.

Writer/director Craig Johnson, along with writing partner Mark Heyman deserve a lot of credit for the excellent script and great direction. By assembling a great cast and writing a great story, the team behind this movie has created one of the best surprises of 2014.

More people should check this movie out because it is a special film that will pleasantly surprise a lot of people. I would rate it 4.5/5 stars. Highly recommended! Available On Demand, download, and disc.

 

Cinderella 2015 the Disney Edition

I received an invite to an advance screening of Cinderella 2015, the new Disney version of the classic movie for yesterday evening.

Cinderella 2015
Cinderella 2015

Of course my invite included a “plus one”. So I figured this was a good time to have a father-daughter bonding evening. Add to the fun of father-daughter bonding time, it was fun to think this was my daughter’s first visit to a real movie theatre. I thought it was a kind of a neat opportunity.

Before I go any further I have to say that before being allowed in the theatre I had to agree to not do a “full review” of the movie itself. So this will not be an actual review of the movie and just my observations of the event. (I think that covers my legal bits).

Another interesting bit about attending the advance screening was that everyone who wanted to go into the theatre had to hand over their mobile device which was then placed in a paper bag and stapled shut. Apparently they wanted to be sure that nobody was taking pictures or recording the movie. Once you handed over your device another person went over your body with one of those airport wands to see if you were still “packing”.

About the movie, the fact is, this is the story of Cinderella. I don’t see how this can be a spoiler because well, the story of Cinderella 2015 hasn’t really changed since Cinderella was first written (as far as I know).

One kind of cool thing about this latest Disney version of Cinderella was that I was expecting it to be animated when in fact it was done with real actors. That was kind of cool.

Although I took my daughter who was totally accepting of the fact that fuzzy little rabbits sometimes get turned into food, I did have it in the front of my mind that she is a sensitive sort of person and the story may be somewhat upsetting so I made sure that we were sitting relatively close to an aisle.

Again I need to preface this with the fact that we basically NEVER read classic stories to our kids. Take the example of Hansel and Gretel – right…a wicked woman who convinces their father to take his two children into the forest and leave them there. Good times.

Think about any of the classic stories we read as kids; they make the Wile E Coyote and Road Runner story look like a love story.

For the first 45 minutes of the movie my daughter had tears streaming down her face. I did keep asking if she wanted to leave but she insisted on staying (I was wondering if I should exercise my parental veto and force her to leave, but I didn’t).

First the Ella’s mother collapses – “Papa why did she fall down?”

And then she is bedridden until she dies. “Papa why isn’t she getting out of bed?”

Then the very loving father remarries and ends up with a hideous woman with two miserable daughters – “Papa why are those girls so mean?”

UGH!!!!!!

And then the father goes away on business and dies while he is away!! A neighbour comes to tell Ella that her father will never be returning – “Papa, where is her father and why doesn’t he go home?”

UGH!!!!!!!

But then there is redemption when Cinderella dances with the Prince and is the belle of the ball – then my daughter was smiling.

The weird thing is that there were many very young children in the theatre last night. In hindsight, I am not sure that Cinderella is a movie that any kid should see. It certainly made for an evening of difficult questions for me to answer.

My Hunger Games Movie Experience

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a real movie theatre and watch the movie The Hunger Games.

First, about the movie, right off the bat I have to say that I was not impressed. The movie was predictable and completely formulaic. I knew who was going to get killed and by whom from the opening scenes of the movie until the end. I knew these things without having read the book.

See I don’t like to spoil a good movie by reading the book first so this was my first go at what is bound to be The Hunger Games franchise/trilogy.

Yes, there were great action scenes and great camera work as well as stunning CGI/special effects throughout the movie. All great stuff. Yeah.

Bottom-line, I couldn’t help but think I was watching a female protagonist in a remake of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The Running Man. It really did not work for me. Good stuff, just not memorable.

However, the theatre going experience was really something else. I have to admit that it has been a few years since I have been to a theatre to see a movie. My movie experience is not complete without popcorn and a soda so as soon as I was inside the theatre I headed to the concession stand.

My word! I surveyed my myriad of choices and decided on a large popcorn for myself, a large soda and a bag of KitKat Bites. I also bought a friend a small popcorn with real butter. The bill for these “food” choices was just north of $26. Ouch.

I should have remembered my Mom’s advice, when ordering a soda, always order a medium.

You know that saying about large drinks? “The cup was so big you could keep a goldfish in it.”? Well I’m telling you, the container of soda that I was handed was so big I could have kept a couple Rainbow trout in it.

The large bag of popcorn fed me and three other people sitting nearby.

I know for next time to stick to the medium popcorn and soda.

 

Children of God; Go See It

This evening I attended a screening of the movie Children of God. The show is part of the Vancouver Queer Film Fest. My reaction? Wow. Simply wow.

Cinemaphiles may disagree with me but I couldn’t help but think about Brokeback Mountain while I was watching Children of God. A Brokeback Mountain filmed in the Bahamas with the surprisingly intolerant Bahamian culture pervading everything. Perhaps I should issue a spoiler alert at this point, but WHY do love stories never work out in movies about gay men?

For me, the most memorable line from the movie was when the mother of a gay man said to him, “I wish your problem was as simple as a drug problem.” Imagine a mother wishing her son had a drug problem rather than facing up to his sexual orientation.

As I exited the theatre I tweeted; “Just out of Children of God. Breath-takingly beautiful and tragic yet happy in a mournful way. Emotionally confusing.” That about sums up Children of God. Beautiful.

Today’s audition went well

The girls were in a good mood during the audition time. Bonus! Sometimes they will play strange when someone they don’t know comes near them but today they were all smiles and cheer when the film person picked them up, one at a time. On a side note, the audition was held in a two-storey building without an elevator. Hellish getting in there because of the number of twins that arrived in strollers. You might have thought of this before booking the space. Now we just wait to see if they get a callback from the film people. It is always a bit of a long shot due to the number of babies they call to these auditions.

On a related note, the webisode Riese the Series is now being released for viewers. You can see it on YouTube, episode by episode. I think that Story was in episode five or six. I’m not sure though so I watch each episode as they are released.