Monday, January 7, 2013

Movie Reviews

Like many other families, we enjoy gathering up the popcorn, movie candy, and soda and having a good old fashioned stay in, stay warm movie night.

So I thought I'd report on the last three movies we've watched - one an oldie, but goodie, another released earlier in 2012, and the third one a new release during the 2012 holiday season.

Let's start with the first one we watched.  We were camping back in October in north central Pennsylvania, and stuck in a dreary rainy weather pattern for days.  One day we turned on the camper fireplace, snuggled up in cozy blankets in our recliners, and relaxed while we watched "Papillon."

"Papillon," released in 1973, is based on the true story of French convict Henri Charriere.  This film stars two of my most favorite actors, Steve McQueen as Henri, and Dustin Hoffman as his friend.  Henri survives through years of solitary confinement and unbelievably poor living conditions in various prisons.  Ultimately he makes a daring leap and becomes a free man.

I saw this movie first as a teenager, when my father took our family to a Saturday matinee in our home town.  It made a huge impression on me then, and again while watching this movie, I was in awe of mankind's strong drive to survive, even in the face of impossible odds.  This movie rates 5/5 stars in my book.  If you haven't seen it, make sure you find this movie somewhere and see it.

The second movie I watched on New Year's Eve with the husband/lover/best friend.  "Hope Springs" is about a middle-aged couple who attend an intensive week long counseling retreat, in the hope of reviving their marriage.

Meryl Streep plays the wife, who gets the ball rolling by signing up for the event and is determined to go, even if her husband will not.  At the last minute he (Tommy Lee Jones) joins her on the plane, and off they go.  He is crotchety and grumpy, and doesn't want to deal with marriage stuff or listening to somebody he doesn't know tell him about his marriage.

Steve Carell, the well known office manager from "The Office" TV show, is the marriage counselor in this flick.  He gently but firmly helps them get to the root of their discontented feelings.  I was unwilling at first to allow that Carell could capably play a serious role, but after I stopped expecting him to say and act zany, I enjoyed his character.

I found the movie a bit depressing and predictable, although I did enjoy the development of the characters played by Streep and Jones.  If you can tough it out through the majority of the movie, it is possible to leave this movie with a good feeling when it ends.  I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.  Probably not the movie I should have watched on a New Year's Eve.

The last movie I watched, "Pitch Perfect," is a comedy that develops in the middle of a competition between two rival a cappella groups, and is centered on a rebellious girl who joins one of the groups in order to distract herself from her unhappy life at college.

Fat Amy is learning the routine.
We had a family showing of this flick one night, and in it there is something for everybody.  Catchy sing-a-long music, comedy, romance, and a good variety of interesting characters.  Even the men in our room liked it.  Personally I think Fat Amy stole the show.

This was definitely a feel-good movie, even though I doubt if it will ever become a classic.  I rate this movie 4/5 stars.

And, I've still got a movie list with others to be checked off, including:

Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Cirque du Soleil:  Worlds Away
Silver Linings Playbook

Have you seen any of these flicks?  I'm hearing good things about Les Miserables, but not much about the others.  Are there any others you would recommend?

Off to make some popcorn now.....


  1. I am a fan of Fat Amy myself. That movie totally cracked me up!

  2. Mom, come down and go to Cirque du Soleil with meeeeee! L

  3. We saw Hope Springs, too. I agree that it was actually a bit depressing. Don't understand why it was billed a comedy. I did like the happy ending.

  4. i've seen the first three on the list. I recommend all three, but I would say the first one is worth seeing in the theater and the other two you could wait for DVD for.