Waking Ned Divine (1988)

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From IMDB

From IMDB

 

The cover of this movie did not really inspire me to watch it, however, as it was a quiet night and we had borrowed some movies from a relative to get through the “post-surgery-getting-better time”, we decided to give it a go.

When they say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, I would like to add that the same goes for movies!

This movie has etched its way up to one of the top of my list! it is one of the very most entertaining movies I have ever seen. I was in tears laughing at parts of it.

The movie takes place in a tiny, quirky little town in Ireland where the inhabitants are primarily senior, are undoubtedly odd, opinionated and completely unique in character.

I don’t want to give away the movie, so I would rather not even tell the main theme of the movie, but I will summarize in simply saying… “watch it”!

And have a great time of it too!

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Contraband (2012)

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 Contraband

As my boyfriend had seen this the night before, I decided to watch Contraband with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and

The movie moved quickly, drew me in from the onset had a story that hooked me from the beginning.

Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-smuggler who got out of the “family business” to raise a family. Drawn in again by his much younger and foolish brother-in-law, he has to pull off his most-challenging job ever.

The story is somewhat predictable, however, the acting, the characters in the movie and the dialogue make this a great movie to watch.

There is a lot of action, enough fighting to keep it exciting without ever getting gory. There are a few surprises to keep you on your toes. Definitely a “go” for an entertaining, satisfying couple of hours.. in my view.

Prozac Nation (2001)

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Deeply moving

Deeply moving

 

Christina Ricci acutely portrays a brilliant Harvard scholar plagued by her struggle against depression in Prozac Nation (2001).

Her relationship with her mother (Jessica Lange) throughout the story is gripping. The journey that they share through her depression while her mother deals with her own demons is emotional, heart-wrenching and deeply moving.

Eventually seen by Dr. Sterling (Anne Heche), the light at the end of the tunnel seems to dim even further as she resists and is not responsive to therapy.

This is definitely not a family movie, yet being the mother of a girl similar in age to the character that Christiana plays left me feeling emotionally drained after seeing her grappling battle against this all-encompassing mental illness that ruined every relationship that touched her life.

Though not a feel-good movie, this is a true story that is profoundly engrossing. Hats off to Jessica Lange, Anne Heche and Christina Ricci as well as Michelle Williams who is the best friend she had but just could not have.

Beyond Borders (2003)

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Modern-day Romeo and Juliet, beautifully filmed and wonderfully executed

Modern-day Romeo and Juliet, beautifully filmed and wonderfully executed

 

From IMDB’s Top 5000 list, Beyond Borders (2003) is a compelling combination of romance, wonderful cinematography and great acting.

The ever-captivating Angelina Jolie, enraptured by a passionate plight from a third-world activist/doctor (Clive Owen), she decides to take a missions trip into the depth of Africa and learns of the harrowing existence of humanity at its most desperate.

Unable to shake the imprint that the trip and the doctor make on her, we see her on the path of self-examination and redemption that give a deliciously deep and action-packed movie.

Clive Owen brilliantly portrays the radical, ardent doctor who gives all to save the few that he can in the midst of seeing the throngs around him parish.

This movie is a wonderful portrayal of the frustrations faced by third-world organizations, an irresistible love story and breath-taking cinematography.

The Code (Thick as Thieves) 2009

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A fun, action-packed "last heist" movie.

A fun, action-packed “last heist” movie.

 

From IMDb’s top 5000 list, The Code – Thick as Thieves (2009) is a fun, action packed movie that for the most part is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

With Morgan Freeman (one of my all-time favourites) and the always-fun character of Antonio Banderas working together for a “this is the last one” theft, the banter is entertaining. The start of the movie and their relationship together gets off to a fantastic launch; I was interested immediately.

A little later on, Radha Mitchell joins in as the predictable lover, who is alluring, fun and has a smile that lights up the screen.

All in all, the movie flows well other than a couple of unnecessary scenes between Antonio Banderas and Radha Mitchell that just did not seem to belong leaving me a little disjointed when the movie took such a sudden switch. Having said that, I still thought that the movie was worth the watch.

I particularly enjoyed the technical aspect of the theft as it was being planned and executed, realistic or not. Not highest on my list, still had enough fun in it to make it worth seeing.. in my view.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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Informative but dry.. full of information, but I still wonder what is the truth

Informative but dry.. full of information, but I still wonder what is the truth

From IMDb’s Top 500Zero Dark Thirty came highly recommended by a friend, however, after three hours of waiting for that “something” to get me, I was happy that the movie finally ended.

Despite not liking the movie, Jessica Chastain did  a wonderful job playing a CIA interrogator bound and determined to  – over a ten-year-period – find the location of, and kill Osama bin Laden.

This movie documents the frustrating search for the infamous ring-leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist group over three hours of a very dry, clinical recounting of the search.

Sadly, I was happy to know that the movie was finally  and it was time to go home.

The Shipping News (2001)

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Great movie about self discovery, family and a great community

Great movie about self discovery, family and a great community

The Shipping News

With the star-studded cast of Kevin Spacey, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchette and Julianne Moore, my first thought before it began was “how could I go wrong with this one?”

I settled in and was delighted throughout this hidden gem to find this emotionally typifying story to be all that I expected and more.

Watching a broken, abused man find himself  on this wonderful journey of starting life over with his young daughter in East-Coast Canada Newfoundland, enraptured me from the captivating start right to the end.

Strewn with pockets of true East-Coast Canadian culture, this movie weaves a beautiful story that touches your heart and inspires the watcher to self-examine their own world.

The scenery is charming and the conversation speckled with depth as well as humour. This is a great one.. you can’t go wrong with it.

Epic (2012)

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Great movie for the whole family. Don't feel as though you will be "stuck" watching this one.. it's a gem!

Great movie for the whole family. Don’t feel as though you will be “stuck” watching this one.. it’s a gem!

When my step-daughter asked me to watch Epic with her, it was just after seeing another (really bad) family movie. Instead, I fell asleep beside her after only a few moments as she watched it all.

Those first few moments, however, did catch my interest, so I went back (without her) and watched the rest of it. What a great story! Beautifully imaginative and wonderfully animated, this is a movie that is unique, has a wonderful heroine (voice by Amanda Seyfried) that faces a whole new world after losing her mother and having to move in with her dodgy (and very nerdy) father.

This adventure is full of surprises and depth with Beyonce playing the voice of the lovely and courageous Queen Tara.

Without giving this away, I will just say that if you have to watch a g-rated movie one night, this is a great choice. Make a bowl of popcorn, snuggle with your little ones (or someone else’s) and be prepared for a great couple of hours.

Jack Reacher (2012)

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Action-packed movie with great turns, fun characters and not a boring minute!

Action-packed movie with great turns, fun characters and not a boring minute!

An action-packed movie that is thoroughly enjoyable! Tom Cruise stars as Jack Reacher an ex-military agent hired by a do-good lawyer (Rosamund Pike) to investigate the a multiple-murder that her client is accused of.

I was a little dubious at first as so often I am finding military-type action movies to be disappointing, but this one was by no means a let-down.

Packed with a few twists, robust characters, a few comedic moments, several great fist fights (that are not gory ladies) and a good-old-fashioned car chase that actually is fun to watch, this movie kept me entertained from start to finish.

Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike have a great banter and sexual tension through-out the movie and we have the pleasure of Robert Duvall joining in his usual, off-centre, tough guy; also a thoroughly fun character.

This is an entertaining one to watch alone or as a couple. Grab that glass of wine and get ready for action, adventure and fun!

La Dolce Vita (1960)

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A classic Felini film from 1960 layered with depth, although tediously long

A classic Felini film from 1960 layered with depth, although tediously long

From IMDb’s Top 250 list, La Dolce Vita is # 246.

A classic Italian film from the 60s directed by Frederico Felini, this movie follows his characteristic, off-beat depth and if you are willing to sit through three hours of sub-titles (for those of us who do not speak Italian fluently), it is an acutely layered satire on the “sweet life” of aristocracy and the famous archetype of that era.

We follow a journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) through a week of “fun” which although at first enticing, Felini portrays this upper-class society as entirely devoid of substance.

The movie is much longer than needed and in Felini-style, it has many flat moments that are at the least, tedious to work through as the watcher is already struggling with the sub-titles. It could have been edited down to a third of its length leaving it much easier to sit through. Then again, the movie is a statement, not an opportunity to simply entertain.

I watched this movie a few nights ago and have wrestled with the thought of whether to recommend this or not. I would not say that it is a favourite, but I would say it is worth watching when you are not looking for a thrilling movie, or one full of laughs. The movie has haunted me the last few days as I reflect on the journalist’s struggle within himself and what society was seen as in the 1960s by Felini. For that reason alone, I recommend it.. it stayed with me as I have come back to think about the reasoning of certain scenes, the characters that Felini wove into the story and to me, this says a lot about whether to watch this movie or not. This is a movie to watch when you are in the mood for a more artistic-movie that requires retrospect and one which you can get through the flatter moments of.