Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Take 7-19: Mini Takes

I made time to watch some films - finally!  But I haven't made time to write my "Take" on them, so here's the quickie version (mini take) on some.

  • The Gumball Rally (1976)  I saw this as a new release years ago, and for some reason, perhaps because of my part-time driving job (see: Action!: Driving), I keep remembering bits and pieces of this movie and decided to watch it again.  MINI TAKE: Boring.  It's not as funny as I remembered.
  • The Wedding Planner (2001)  I watched this after our son's wedding.  :)  I had seen it before, but felt like watching it again.  MINI TAKE: Maybe I was tired from the wedding, but it didn't seem as good the second time around.  
  • Mission Impossible III (2006)  MINI TAKE: Lots of action. A few flaws, but it still led me to want to see the next one.
  • The Princess Bride (1987) I've seen this multiple times, but it had been awhile so it was fun to see see it again.  MINI TAKE:  A classic.  Clever writing!  William Goldman is a master screenwriter, and I want to study his writing style, so I added several of his screenplays to my Amazon wishlist. 
  • Men in Black 3 (2012) I missed this as a new-release so I saw this at the "sticky shoe" (dollar) theater to see it on the big screen before it hit DVD.  MINI TAKE: I loved the humor, and quirky characters.  Well-written, and well-acted.  I'd like to see it again.  In fact, I might want to own it, which says a lot.  (see post: I actually purchased a DVD)
  • Valentine's Day (2010) I had high hopes for this film, with such a star-studded cast, but alas... MINI TAKE: This was one ensemble piece that did not work.  Not enough time to develop any of the inter-twining stories, or to let any star shine.
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)  A reader, Susan (author of 365 Take Aways and Freezerburned) recommended this film, and I'm glad she did.  MINI TAKE: Unusual, quirky, and thought provoking.  Well-acted.  I knew Johnny Depp was in the film, but didn't realize that Leonardo DiCaprio had a challenging role in it...which he nailed!  I was impressed with his acting range.  
  • The Italian Job (2003) A friend bought a Mini-Cooper and admitted she wanted one ever since seeing The Italian Job. I saw the older version a "hundred years ago" and can't remember much of anything except wandering the movie theater out of boredom (maybe I was too young to follow the plot).  Curious about the newer version and what prompted the purchase of the car, I had to see the film.  MINI TAKE: Wow!  I was on the edge of my seat, and felt like a nervous wreck by the end.  It takes a strong story and good writing to make the audience root for thieves! Maybe I should give the older version (1969) another chance.
  • The Iron Lady (2011) I added this to our DVD queue after watching the Academy Awards.  (I know... it's taken me awhile to get to it.)  Meryl Streep is amazing, and I wanted to see how she portrayed Margaret Thatcher.  MINI TAKE: The story jumps between three time periods... Margaret as a young woman entering the political arena, Margaret at the peak of her career, and Margaret as an elderly widow. Sometimes the jumps between time periods were confusing, and annoying.  The film left me feeling depressed.  Seeing her aged, and mentally feeble at times, was sad after witnessing the vitality of her prime.  And seeing the footage of political unrest and riots disturbed me, especially as the poor (used to being on the dole) revolted against responsibility.  It was like watching a preview of what will come in the United States. Disturbing.  I keep thinking about it, so it deserves high marks for that.
  • Tower Heist (2011)  After watching The Iron Lady, I was in the mood for something light, and this one fit the bill.  MINI TAKE:  Fun cast and some funny moments, I enjoyed the light-hearted film.  
  • Christmas Oranges (2012) I attended the screening for this film.  It will release as a DVD November 6, and is now available for pre-order through Amazon: click here.)  MINI TAKE: Well-written, quality film, with wonderful soundtrack, cinematography, and acting.  It will make a great addition to Christmas DVD collections.
  • Ice Age: Continental Shift (2012) Kurt and I took our two oldest grandchildren (ages 4 and 2 1/2) to see this at a "cheap" theater near them.  We had the theater to ourselves, and after the little ones polished off their snacks of popcorn and fruit punch they climbed onto our laps to watch the remainder of the movie.  Greatly enhanced the viewing experience to snuggle grandchildren and kiss the tops of their heads.  MINI TAKE:  As with many sequels, it was not as good as the first (but better than the second).  I still enjoyed the story and funny moments... aaaannnddd... the grandkids were enthralled, watching the entire film without getting bored.  That's a big plus.

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