MickGee's Movie Madness 2010
MickGee's weekly adventure to the movies

Dec
08

DeLIGHTful Autumn Colour at Sheffield Park & G...

Hey,

It was good. Go see it or not.

 Peace!

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Dec
08

Elizabeth Banks

Image via Wikipedia

Week 49: The Next Three Days

Saturday 12-4-10

Showtime: 6:05 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 9

Greetings my Fickle Favorable Filmeological Fanatics to another episode of MickGee’s Movie Madness. Before we get into the meat of this 3 course blog entry, I feel compelled to respond to some recent comments people have made about the blog you are now engaged in, penned by yours truly. It has been said, and keep in mind this is subjective, that this blog is too long. Or as some have put it, “There are just too many words.” Continuing this person expressed, “I don’t have time to read that much… I have more important things to do.” I think you, my fans, should know that hurt. It hurt me deeply. What could possibly be more important than hearing about how my bladder won’t function properly in a crowded men’s room or how the new concession worker deleted all my rewards for free movie stuff. Seriously people, are you all really so important that you cannot set aside a few moments once a week to travel with me down the road into my movie madness?

I will stop now before this turns from MickGee’s Movie Madness into MickGee’s Regrettable Tirade on his previously loyal fans and instead suggest what I might do to please all you people. Sheesh, you guys are killin’ me here.

How ‘bout this week, just to humor some of you with a lethal combination of schizophrenia and ADHD who can’t even watch a complete episode of robot chicken without changing the channel to see what else is on, by doing a special supplementary edition of this week’s movie madness. The good news for you is you can stop reading this blog right now.

That’s right you can go back to surfing the internet for Christmas gifts like the Snuggie and that extra RAM memory you’ve been eyeing for your laptop. Or possibly watching all those videos of “sexy cats wearing wigs and dancing”. Hey I’m not here to judge… but…. Then you can click on over to the special edition version that will be tailor made just for you; the distracted important people. So when you take a moment away from writing the second draft of the Middle East Peace Accord maybe you can take a glance at my special edition blog entry.

Alright then, moving on for those who are still with me. Congratulations you have made it to word 405. That is twice as far as some Wonder Genius out there who already stopped reading at around word 202.5. So pat yourself on the back and buckle up because as a famous Batman arch enemy once said, “Here… we… go…”   

This week at the movies was a solo trip. It started by trying to narrow down to which movie to see since I decided to pass on the only new movie releasing this week The Warriors Way. Sorry Kung Fu masters who fly around on cables I will have to wait for the Bluray. Instead my choices were the following 3 films. Burlesque which I admit was a tantalizing option. Love and Other Drugs which definitely qualifies as chick flick material and The Next Three Days which falls into the thriller suspense category. Since I had seen Gladiator (what real man hasn’t) and enjoyed a brilliant performance in A Beautiful Mind my decision was pretty much made for me. Russell Crowe was my clear choice. Let’s not forget Elizabeth Banks who turns in a very believable character giving a strong performance opposite Crowe.

You should know that the movie wasn’t the most interesting thing at the theater this week. It was once again my interaction at the snack counter. I was in the mood for popcorn yes and a carbonated beverage as well but I was also craving something sweeter. So I added something to my usual order of popcorn and soda. However, before I could speak the words the guy who was bending down to restock the lard like ‘butterish’ substance they drench your popcorn with if you don’t tell them not to says, “Peanut M&M’s” a millisecond before I do. As I said it he turned and looked at me over his shoulder and smiled. As I looked past the snack girl at him she also turned to face the empathic theater employee and we both said “How did you know…” He interrupted and said, “I… I didn’t know, but I just had a feeling that you were going to order Peanut M&M’s” So I was standing there and I was like “Peesh!” and the snack girl was like “Whaa?” and the Brianiac Professor X dude just goes back to stocking the lard juice for the popcorn. I’m thinkin’ did this kid get hit in the head or struck by lightning or kicked by a talking mule? In fact it was none of the above.

Oops… gotta stop for a minute and congratulate you for making it to word 822. Great job, hang in there we are more than half way home already.

So when I ask Jimmy popcorn guy more about it he said that the number one combination for people who order popcorn and a soda is to add Peanut M&M’s. It was simple probability. He took a chance and it paid off. So now this kid (Jimmy the psychic) places all my stock trades and buys my ETF’s. He says silver is going to top out at $33.00. I guess we’ll see. That reminds me I got to go buy some silver.

The Next Three Days is a morality play on what lengths someone might go to undo some injustice. Particularly an injustice against someone they love. There are times in the movie where you are asking, “like that would happen” or “seriously?” but it’s not all over the top like so many other similar type movies. Overall this is a semi realistic story about the lengths a man will go to in order to rescue his wife even if she may have already given up. I admired the character Crowe plays and his extreme dedication. I also like the realistic treatment of what a person would need to be willing to do to accomplish the thing he sets out to accomplish in this exciting story.

What you really need to know is that this movie takes a while to ramp up to full speed. So relax and just let it happen. If you let it take it’s time you will be rewarded with a movie that takes you for a ride and lets you to answer the big questions for yourself when it’s done.  

What this movie did for me was made me reevaluate my own belief on the issue of justice, violence, right, wrong, love… The ending for me is not the payoff it may be for some. I was left wondering if the price paid was worth it. At the same time I was emotionally connected to this film and found that my gut instinct would have been to attempt something similar to what Russell Crowe does in his role.

For me it all came down to each person’s choice and what suffering they are willing to endure. My only complaint about the film was it didn’t consider the desires of Elizabeth Banks character adequately. Yes it eventually works for the story but in real life she would have had a lot more to say about ‘if’ the events in this movie would have happened at all.

Oh congratulations, once again, for making it all the way to word 1,276. You guys rock and I love you all madly! Just don’t tell my wife. Oh never mind, she doesn’t read my blog anyway.

Me: “What’s that honey? No I am not talking about you!”

Wife: “Then how many wives do you have… I heard you say wife… do I have to go get the iron skillet again?”

Me: thinking to myself “That’s what I get for taking her to see Tangled” heavy sigh.

Until next week… I’ll be watching

p.s. you made it! all the way to the last word in this week’s edition of the famed internet blog from MickGee known as MickGee’s Movie Madness and have arrived at long last to the final word and should be very proud of yourself for being such a good reader of words, thoughts and ideas like the ones here in this blog presented each week for your entertainment, enjoyment and amusement and it is all made possible by you the fans out there in the real world who know the value of a good movie and enjoy the discussion of what movies make us think, feel and experience.  So to those of you who have stuck it out all the way to the ending paragraph of this, the wordiest blog on the world wide web, I thank you for your continued encouragement and support.

p.p.s Ha 1,500 words! Take that!

p.p.p.s. The word count in my blog and in Word are different.

Dec
01

Week 48: Tangled

Sunday 11-27-10

Showtime: 3:30 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 2 – 3D

What a great time to be alive! Don’t you think?

Wait! What’s that? You don’t agree?

Is that because there are more wars being fought simultaneously right now than at any other time in our history? Or because the weather has become more severe than ever and people are dying because of it? Maybe it’s the government or the schools or the corporations or your boss or your job or the wife, the husband, the kids, the in-laws, the neighbors. Need I go on?

Sure I get it. Times are tough and there is always something to complain about. But I learned something this past Thanksgiving holiday that helped put things in perspective for me. When the first European settlers had suffered through their first year in America and were on the brink of annihilation. When the Native Americans came and basically saved their lives and shared with them a feast. Those first settlers, who had a strong belief and a hope in a creator, bowed their heads and gave thanks as they gathered in their homes. By the way, surrounding their homes were the graves of those who did not survive. For every house standing there were 7 graves. That is to say a settlement of 100 homes already had a cemetery of 700 fallen friends, neighbors and family members. Despite all that loss over the period of just 1 year there was STILL the first thanksgiving.

So I say again to you my Truly Tremendous Transcendent Troop, Isn’t it a great time to be alive? I hope so because it is your time to be alive. Don’t let what is happening in the world around you stop you from living and doing those things that make up a life. As much as it is possible for you live at peace with all people and reach out and get to know someone. Take a trip, see the world and have an adventure, look around at the beauty of the world, it’s art, it’s nature and sunsets, it’s people (you know who you are beautiful people) and the look on a child’s face the first time he sees Santa Claus. Love your family and your friends. Get close to someone. Get to really know them and let them know you. Then keep searching for that purpose and meaning in your life. Think about the legacy you want the world to have from you after you are done living. So at the end of each day, as you lay your head on the pillow, you have fewer regrets and more anticipation for the next day that will begin when you open your eyes to start again tomorrow.

You may be wondering, “Where the heck did all this good will come from MickGee? Aren’t you supposed to be the cynical movie theater critic who hates cell phones, public restrooms and most service workers? Why the sudden outpouring of hope and (dare I say) positivity?”

I would respond, don’t you know? Did you not hear? This is the Christmas season. And whether you are an atheist, apostolic or assembly of God you have to admit people this time of year tend to get a little nicer. Most of us tend to return to a more childlike view of the world and are willing to help others and speak a kind word. We show a little more compassion. Don’t we? Don’t you? I want to say that it is never too late. There is still time to turn it around. If life has got you down. Call out for help. You’ve got a cell phone (I know because I see you texting on it during the good scenes in the movie theater) Open it up and phone a friend and tell them you are struggling or hurting. Let them help. And if you are just being a humbug, Snap out of it! I bet you already know people around you who are a lot worse off and could probably use help from someone like you. You may be surprised just how much you can offer by listening, commiserating or trying to be funny.  

I want you to know that I took my family to see the new movie Tangled this past week and I thought it was fantastic! It is a fun and complex story with entertaining characters, great voice acting and a strong soundtrack.  Have to give Disney credit here. I think they knocked this one out of the park. This deserves “Disney Classic” status. The lead Character of Repunzel who is voiced by Mandy Moore is wonderful.

***ALERT ALERT ALERT***

If you have a young blond haired girl in your family, or among your friends – heck, in your neighborhood! STOP everything and take her to see Tangled RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Repunzel in this story is a role model for young girls yes but her blond hair is magic and when you see the movie you will understand why it is so important that every young blond haired little girl see this movie. Now a note to the moms. It’s ok if you are not a ‘natural’ blond. For the purposes of this review you count as a blond and you need to see this movie too. Embrace the character of the films heroine and let the music and adventure touch you in places that have not been touched in a long time… wait a minute that didn’t come out quite right. I was trying to create a poignant moment here and now I have crossed some kind of line again. I am such a doofus!

Me: “Honey, Come read this last part and tell what I am doing wrong.”

Wife: “Oh nice one. So it’s true. Men do think about sex much more often than women. I guess this just proves it. You perv!”

Me: “I’m not sure if that is helping”

Wife: “Can’t you just write something sweet and innocent?”

Me: “You don’t read my blog do you?”

Wife: …silence…

Obviously I don’t get to see many children’s movies. Let’s suffice it to say that this is an excellent story with moments of wonder and awe and inspiration. Please take a look at an excerpt from one of the movies main themes “I see the light”. These words and the song in particular made my heart leap.

                “I see the light”

All those days watching from the windows

All those years outside looking in

All that time never even knowing

Just how blind I’ve been

Now I’m here blinking in the starlight

Now I’m here suddenly I see

Standing here it’s all so clear

I’m where I’m meant to be

And at last I see the light

And it’s like the fog has lifted

And at last I see the light

And it’s like the sky is new

And it’s warm & real and bright

And the world has somehow shifted

All at once everything looks different

Now I don’t know how it is for you but when I hear a song like this and begin some self reflection… to think about my own life and where I am, where I have been and where I want to be. Yes I am a little sentimental… so sue me! 😉 I get a little choked up as I think about all those things I still want to accomplish and long for lost friends and abandoned pursuits. I think about just how big the world is and how life is still full of the same opportunities as when I was a child. It’s only my growing up and becoming jaded and cynical that has changed the way I think about things.

I hope you see this movie and want to look at the world in a brand new way… again. If you need help just as your kids about it. If you don’t have kids just borrow someone else’s for a day. Their innocence can be refreshing. My son, who is 5, didn’t have anything particular to say about the movie when I asked him for his review. However he did devour most of a large bag of popcorn during the movie without breaking a sweat. This usually means one of two things. 1) He really likes popcorn 2) He didn’t realize he was eating so much popcorn because he was enjoying the movie.

All I know is that despite any of the challenges facing my family and those families I call friends we Americans have still got it pretty damn good. And we really need at times to have a reminder (for some a wake up call) to put us back on the track that includes gratitude, compassion and simple common decency. I am thankful for you my readers and your support. You have helped me do something that I talked about doing for a long time and now it has become a way of life and a habit I enjoy very much. For that I thank you.

So you can find me at the movies, being a free citizen, watching out for my neighbors when I can and hoping to be a little better than I was last year in all the ways that matter. And in case you were wondering yes I do believe movies can bring out the best in us. If you don’t agree just remember to not get ‘Scrooged’ this holiday and never take for granted that ‘It’s a wonderful life.’

Until next week.. I’ll be watching… thankfully

Nov
29

Week 47: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Saturday 11-20-10

Showtime 2:55 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 1

Well, here we are my wanted wellspring of worshiping wizards heading into another Thanksgiving holiday weekend. You know what that means. That’s right it’s time to go to the movies! So just in case you are not sure what to see I am going to do you a favor and NOT make you read my previous 4 or 5 weeks of blog posts to find out if any of the movies that released recently are worth you slapping down $20 (including snack) to go see.

First I did a quick check of the local theaters to see what is still in the projector ready to roll for your entertainment. Here is the breakdown:

To see Megamind the way it was meant to be seen go to Fortuna and see it in 3D. Also if you loved all the Shrek movies (and most Disney films) it looks like the Tangled movie is out this week showing in 3D in Fortuna as well. You can get it in 2D and 3D at the Broadway Cinema in Eureka.

Now for the older kids:

Harry Potter 7 is a must see if you have watched any of the previous installments. See my review below to see if you want to jump on the band wagon of the box office giant.

Unstoppable is a great story based on actual events. If you want to see some real life heroes this one is for you

RED will entertain you if you enjoy action comedy and love the actors in it. Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Muirin.

Social Network – this fascinating story of the rise of Facebook may be the best critically reviewed movie this year. I loved the acting from Jessie Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake.

The Hereafter is recommended if you have always wondered where do we go when we die and want to journey with a number of characters as they look for hope of finding there loved ones in the next life and seeing an intelligent portrayal of what might happen when we leave this world.

Below is a quick chart to give you the highline reviews from both movie goers and critics. There are “user reviews” from both IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database) and Fandango. With the critic ratings average taken from national review of critics representing as many as 16 publications nationwide.

I also listed the movies I am going to likely see for the rest of 2010. Maybe I will see you at one of the showings.

IMDB out of 10 # of Votes Fandango # of Votes Critics out of 100 My Picks! Box Office
Tangled 7.3 426 8.4 293 73 1 $          11,600,000
Faster 8 392 7 66 39 2 $             1,582,000
Burlesque 5.9 463 8 425 51 3 $             2,800,000
Love & Other Drugs 6.1 301 6.2 209 55 4 $             2,200,000
Harry Potter 7 8.2 26,986 9.4 8,248 68 1*** $        158,532,000
Unstoppable 7.2 4,534 8.8 887 67 * $          46,451,000
Megamind 7.2 3,354 8.2 879 64 * $        115,597,000
RED 7.2 19,015 8.7 1,626 61 * $          84,207,000
Social Network 8.3 41,643 8.8 1,443 95 * $          89,471,000
Hereafter 7.5 3,209 6.4 704 56 * $          32,250,000
Coming in December
The Tourist Johnny Depp 10-Dec
Chronicles of Narnia 3 Returning Cast 10-Dec
The Company Men All star Cast 10-Dec
Tron Legacy Jeff Bridges 17-Dec
Little Fockers Returning Cast 22-Dec
True Grit Matt Damon 22-Dec

Alright, now that we have a plan for what to watch next time we are out at the movies let’s talk about what happened this past weekend at the movies.

Finally having accepted that my hard earned rewards club points had tragically and probably magically disappeared, I was at peace and willing to proceed back to the theater agreeing that the old adage “easy come, easy go” could definitely apply in my circumstance. Maybe I had been the victim of dark magic and that my not saving $3 at the concession counter for popcorn, drinks and candy are all a plot to destroy my muggle confidence. But I digress.

With Ticket in hand for Harry Potter 7 I approach the snack counter. As I ponder what to order I am confronted with the realization that the movie I am about to see is 2 ½ Hours long. What if I get the large beverage and half way through the movie I have to get up and go to the bathroom? I shudder as my mind recalls all of my previous trips to the PUBLIC men’s room. Not only could the movie experience be ruined if I were to miss some critical moment in the story but I could be scarred for life by having to go into the terrifying theater bathroom to (wait for it…)

go make water… see a man about a horse… use the little boys room… answer the call of nature… make my 1 o’clock appointment… point Percy at the porcelain… relieve my half blood prince… drain the lizard… drain the wizard… go whizzle (ala Bart Simpson)… squirt the dirt… put out a fire… make yellow snow… write my name on the wall… bleed the giant… drain the main vein… mark my territory…  water the trees… return the soda I rented earlier… free Willy… bargain with my prostate… take a leak… go piddle… wash my hairy feet… pay my respects … make an offering to the porcelain god… if you know what I mean.

(By the way the previous list of urinary euphemisms was NOT approved by my significant other. That’s probably because most of the examples listed are clearly masculine in nature. With that in mind maybe next time my wife needs to “shake the dew of the leaves” she will laugh with the rest of us – I am in SO much trouble)

So I decided to suck it up and get the large drink and just “hold it” until the end. Yes I would be squirming for the last 30 minutes of the movie but in the end I would learn that it was worth it. As I entered the theater I was reminded of the power of the cinema and what a compelling, engaging and fantastical story can do to all of us. Seated in the theater were people who clearly fell into the following categories. And yes what you are about to hear is clearly “social profiling.”

There were red necks and white trash (I am a little bit of each), there were blacks and bikers and Goth kids with bleach,

There were soccer moms lined up with 7 kids in tow and grandmas and grandpas who sat in the back row.

And special needs people who came out to play and that one loud mouth jerk why won’t he go away?

Students with friends endlessly texting so I sat off to the side so I would not break their…

next thing I knew in walked a BIG man dressed like a lumberjack and looking so haggard. I thought I had seen his face before and then it hit me this was the look alike for our friend Hagred.

So there we all were ready to watch it like many ages before awaiting Shakespeare’s next sonnet.

Then across the theater I see a friend I knew, then I realized it’s not her, just in time to see the opening credits of the next Harry Potter.

All that to say that I am thrilled anytime the theater is packed with ‘everyone’ from all walks of life, social status, cultural background, etc. It simply reinforces just how much alike we all are and how we share the same emotions about many things. And that we are all willing to pay at least $10 to see a movie. Ack!

So what can I tell you about Harry Potter 7 – The Deathly Hallows Part 1 that you have not already learned form the preview? Well I can confirm it is exciting. I can endorse it as the best of the 7 movies thus far. And I don’t think this is a spoiler but some of the things in the preview will not happen in Harry Potter 7 Part 1. You will have to wait until July 2011 to see a few key segments which the preview does show. So after you see it, and you have to go see it, come back here and watch the trailer again. You will then know what scenes are missing from Part 1. I guess that means I’ll see you all in line this coming July to see show it all ends. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait. Now if you will excuse me I see the Hagred look alike guy is signing autographs. I gotta go!

Until Next Week… I’ll be watching

Nov
18

Working Title Films

Image via Wikipedia

Week 46: MickGee’s Big Idea – Preview: Part 1, The Prequel

Some may remember after I announced my ‘Big Idea’ to write a minimum of 1,000 words per week in 2011 and hopefully ending up with a novel by December 31, that I said I would reveal the working title for the book and even provide a writing sample. Trying to be true to my word I am now prepared to reveal the “working title.” For those who do not know what this is. A working title is simply a title that is put in place until it is time to reveal the actual title or the final title. It is also VERY cool because usually only insiders know the working title of a project be it a movie or the recording of a new musical project. Sometimes the working title has some clear connection to the project it is attached to and sometimes it has very little to do with it. You can start your speculation now. 

So to you my faithful few I am now very priviledged to announce the working title for the Novel I will attempt to write, 1 week at at time, in 2011.

Working Title = “3D”

Now you know… and you can begin to wonder what this title could refer to. In fact, you can specualte just what type of story this might be. What genre would it fall under? Hmmm… 

Also, as I hinted earlier, I will provide a writing sample. This will not neccesarily be part of the final novel or have anything to do with it. But it is simply designed to wet your appetite for the project to come. This my friends will appear as a special edition in the month of December. (Heavy unison group sigh…) I know a whole month is a long time to wait. But just put yourself in my shoes. Now I HAVE to write something! Oh the pressure! You people are relentless!

So while you are out holiday shopping and spending time with loved ones. I will be neglecting my family, chained to a laptop fasting on poptarts, old tofu jerky and bottled water until I can come out with a writing sample that will get me back into the house for Christmas. And you think you’ve got it bad…

My new motto for 2011: Inspiration, illiteration, illumination!

Nov
18

Week 46: Skyline and Unstoppable

Friday 11-12 & Saturday 11-13

Showtime 6:20 PM & 9:10 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema Theater 4 & 2

As we prepare ourselves for another season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays let’s take a moment to reflect on the year we have lived and see if we have lived it well. For me, as you well know, I have been to the movies each and every week in 2010 and have seen some good, not so good and truly awful movies. But was it time well spent? Was this endeavour worth the many hours spent gnawing on over priced popcorn and sipping sugary drinks a valuable experience?

Aw who gives a damn! I was too busy having fun. And frankly that’s what I think you should do. As you look back over the past year… as you contemplate the year to come. Stop being so hard on yourself. Sure maybe you could afford to lose a few, cut back on facebook time and clean up around the house more but not right this minute. So stop worrying about those things so you don’t miss the moment staring you in the face… right… this… instant. 

So with a childlike innocence as our frame of mind I welcome you Friendly Famous Family of Fun to this week 46 edition of MickGees Movie Madness. Thank you all for coming. Now let’s have some ‘serious’ fun!

Believe it or not I have already watched 52 movies this year. If I wanted to I guess I could say that my new years resolution to see a new movie every WEEK in 2010 has been fulfilled. “But Mickgee, you useless piece of spack, YOU said that you would actually GO to the movies every week in 2010. So go sit your ass down and watch some more movies. You still got 6 weeks left dofus!” 

Ya, ya you’re right anonymous stranger from the imaginary back row (of my mind). I will still go see more movies and fulfill my destiny set forth from January 1, 2010 to endure the best and worst that hollywood has to offer in the span of a year. Why? you ask. Because I still have to see Harry Potter 7, Burlesque, Red Dawn, Tangled, Faster, The Tourist, Chronicles of Narnia 3, Tron 2, True Grit & Little Fockers. Wait that’s like a dozen more weeks of movies. Oh well, I guess I can’t do any worse than the last 52 weeks of film. Just for fun here is “the list” How many of these did you see?

Invictus
Day Breakers 
The Book of Eli
Legion 
Edge of Darkness
From Paris with Love
Valentines Day
The Lightning Thief
Shutter Island
Cop Out 
Alice in Wonderland – 3D
Green Zone
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
How to Train your Dragon-True 3D
Clash of the Titans-Fake 3D
Date Night – Tina Fey/Steve Carrel
Kick Ass-Nicolas Cage
The Losers
$-Iron Man 2
Robin Hood – Russell Crow
Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter-3D
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Jake Gyllenhaal
Splice-Adrian Brody
Get Him To The Greek – Jonah Hill
The ‘A’ Team – Liam Neisen
The Karate Kid – Jackie Chan
$-Toy Story 3-3D
Knight & Day – Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz
$-The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
$-The Last Airbender – 3D?
Despicable Me-3D
Inception – Leonardo Dicaprio
Sorcerers Apprentice – Nicolas Cage
Salt – Angelina Jolie
The Other Guys-Mark Wahlberg
The Expendables-Sylvester Stallone
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Vampires Suck
Takers-Matt Dillon
The Last Exorcism (PG-13?)
Machete – Robert De Niro
Resident Evil: Afterlife (True 3D) – Mila Jovovich
Devil – M. Night Shamalan
Easy A – Emma Stone
Let me in – Chloe Morentz
$ – The Social Network – Jesse Eisenberg
Life As We Know It – Katherine Heigl
Hereafter – Clint Eastwood directs
$ – Paranormal Activity 2
$ – Megamind-3D
Skyline
Unstoppable – Denzel Washington

Phew, that is a lot of waisted time (or is it?). Who am I kidding? I loved almost every minute of it. But enough about me. Let’s talk about this weeks cinematic adventure to see Skyline and Unstoppable. But before we get into all the nuance of these very different movies I would like to discuss what happened at the box office ticket window AND the snack counter on my back to back movie theater excursions. Two weeks ago I was told by a well-intentioned, although somewhat incompetent, theater employee that I had a large accumulation of theater “rewards.” He then went on to list them for me.

2 free movie tickets,

4 drink discounts and 

3 popcorn discounts.

He asked if I wanted to use the movie passes for the movie.

I said, “Sure, sounds good to me.”

But try as he might he was unsuccessful in getting the “system” to allow me to purchase the tickets. Did I complain? No. Did I care that much. Yes. Did I want the hassle of explaining it to someone who was going to give me and excuse as to why I could not use the reward that they gave me? No. So instead I decided to go enjoy the movie that I just paid $10 per person to see. So this week I was very excited when the ticket agent asked if I wanted to use my movie pass – and after I explained to him why I thought it wouldn’t work – he proceeded to print my ticket NO CHARGE. So where was this guy 2 weeks ago. And what does he know that the rest of the ticket agents don’t?

So I get to the snack counter and before I can complete my order the nice concession girl tells me that I have a free movie ticket and that I should remember to use it next time I come to the theater. I thanked her and knowing that I had a number of other concession discounts (based on what the other less competent employee told me a few weeks before) I asked if there were any other discounts I could use on my concessions. The snack girl said politely but matter of fact “No.”

I’m thinking,  “No? What do you mean NO! You underage useless piece of spack. How can you say No. I know there are more rewards. Where did they go? Maybe up your a….” Ok let’s just ratchet things back here a minute. I didn’t say any of these things. In fact I just stood there and took the abuse from this entertainment organization who treated me like virtually everyone else in the entertainment industry. They told me to bend over and… well you know how it goes from there. Don’t make me draw you a picture!

My rewards had mysteriously disappeared. Now, because they no longer give me any tangible proof of these rewards or notify me that I have earned them, I have no recourse to prove that I am in fact entitled to them. When the company took down the rewards program from the website over the summer promising a new and improved system, I had no idea they meant a fascist dictatorship where they give and take as they please with no reason or accountability. But hey, from a business standpoint good for them. If they need to make more money they can just cancel everyone’s rewards and change them for the free things they promised and there will be nothing any of us slags can do about it.

Now finally let’s get to talkin’ bout the movies I actually went to see this past weekend. Skyline. A action sci-fi flick that tries to combine the idea of cloverfield (with less shaky camera work) and Independence Day. all with a slight twist. To tell the truth it’s not a bad story. But it falls pretty short in the dialog and acting department. Special effects are state of the art and there is some big thrills and jaw dropping visuals. However all that still does not makes this a particularly satisfying adventure. Too bad because I think it really had potential.

Then I went to and saw Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson and Chris Pine. I love  these actors. This is another in a long line of “Movies based on actual events.” Of those movies this one ranks way up there. The acting is natural and believable. All the actors make you care for or hate them. Casting is good and the pace of the film builds and does an excellent job creating and building sense of tension and excitement. The fact is if even half of what this movie shows is true this story deserves all of the attention it’s getting and we should be proud to live in a country where these kind of men and women live. Truly a story of everyday heroes told in a very satisfying compelling way. Highly recommended for 13 yrs and up! This is a story you want your teens to see.     

So while I believe that the movie going experience this weekend was a little harsh. I lost some rewards which I had earned. I saw a mediocre movie but was inspiried by a movie about the heroism and sacrifice of others. I find this much more enjoyable than trying to get on a airplane and have the TSA see me naked, fondle my junk and take away the very freedoms we claim to be fighting for in other parts of the world right this minute. All that to say… it could be worse.

Until next week… I’ll be watching (…Emma Watson in Harry Potter 7… she’s so cute ;-))

Nov
10

E3 2010 Megamind demo area

Image by popculturegeek.com via Flickr

Week 45: Megamind

Sunday 11-7-10

Showtime: 2:20 PM

Location: Fortuna Theater, Theater 1: BIG D – 3D

You people are crazy! I saw you out in the streets on Halloween weekend. Toilet papering people’s houses, writing insults on peoples car windshields with shaving cream, smashing pumpkins in the street and throwing eggs at the houses with lame candy. Oh wait… sorry… that was me. I am the original Halloween Hoodlum Hell Spawn Horror! Or at least I used to be when, for some reason, all of the things I just listed above sounded like a good idea to a young mind with raging hormones and few productive outlets. There was for me an inner turmoil as I was in my adolescence. I was surrounded by a vast array of people who influenced me in many ways. I had the opportunity to go down the path of the troubled child who would bully, lie and get in trouble more often than not and I had the chance to be the All American Boy who read comic books, rode a red Schwin bicycle and ate most of his vegetables.

All in all my formative years showcased the struggle we all go thorough at some important chapter in our lives; those pivotal chapters where change comes even if we can’t see it at the time. It is in the moments of these changes when we decide who we will be, where we will go, what shape our lives will take. Although I had influences growing up that could have helped to pull me down a path of crime, sexual promiscuity and drinking/drug use I also had other people who got me into sports, gaming (back then it was board games until video games were invented in 1980 or so) and playing at “love” with the neighborhood girls.

And so in light of these persnal developement struggles we have this week’s movie selection Megamind. A 3D animated adventure starring Will Ferrell (Megamind), Brad Pitt (Metro Man) and Tina Fey (The Love Interest). This family focused feature tells the story of two boys from distant planets who are sent to earth by their parents moments before their respective home planets get sucked into a black hole. We see both children grow up on earth and how their environments help shape their lives and to a large degree the people they become.

This week my movie viewing partner was my 5 year old son. Man that kid can eat popcorn. The few times I picked up the Large bag from next to him on the seat he would remind me to put the bag back where I found it so he could continue to shovel more salty crunchy treats into his mouth as he watched the pretty 3D pictures on the giant screen. A few minutes later my boy got thirsty. Good thing I sprung for the $5 bottle of water. He needed help getting the cap off so I started it for him. Then of course he wanted to finish doing it for himself. So I backed off and let the little ‘know it all’ finish unscrewing the cap by himself which he then screwed off right onto the floor. The MOVIE theater floor! Now if you have been a patron of the movies like I have you know what the MOVIE theater floor is like. It is a no man’s land of lost sugar, fat, germs, missing children and probably government conspiracies. Why? because NO ONE ever goes down there. If you drop something on the floor – I don’t care if it’s your platinum master card – just leave it and call it in as stolen. Trust me, the hassle of doing that is far better than the mental and emotional trauma of floor diving in the local movie house. Now my son Julian didn’t know this so he insisted that I retrieve the cap from the floor underneath his seat. I then insisted that we just leave it and try and watch the movie. This did not sit well with the now 5 year old prince of the world who NEEDED the cap for his water or the whole movie would – I’m sure – be ruined. Not wanting to cause a scene and distract my fellow movie watchers from enjoying the movie. I decided that this once I would – for my son – brave the eternal lost wastes that dwelt below the 13th row of chairs at the Fortuna Theater. So I reached down and first unstuck my right foot from the floor then my left foot and prepared to twist in my seat and reach down to find the cap. What suddenly occurred to me was that it was dark AND I was wearing 3D glasses and I am fat and not too coordinated anymore. So I had a few strikes against me right from the start and I was going to have to fish around a little while trying to find the bottle cap. With my left eye I thought I caught a glimpse of it right between our chairs. So with my mind resolute I thrust my arm down to grasp the wayward cap. But luck was NOT on my side as I missed it and touched the floor instead. At least that is what I think it was. It was cold and sort of clammy.

“Is that the way it is supposed to feel?” I wondered.

I tried again this time just grazing the side of the cap. It seemed to move further back under the seat. Damn! I swiped at it and once again and just brushed past the edge of it ping ponging  it even further back underneath the seats into a dense wasteland of “movie theater buildup.”

“Was this cap trying to get away from me or is there something down there helping it avoid my grasp?” I thought to myself.   

So a third time I committed to getting this thing and putting this trial to bed so I could get back to the movie with my son. So with a deep breath and a short prayer for focus and success I rifled my good arm down and back as far as it could go. I GOT IT! And just at that moment I felt something brush the back of my hand. I DROPPED IT! I jerked my somewhat quivering arm back so quickly I startled myself. Now sufficiently disturbed I explained to my son how it would be ok if we didn’t get the cap back. Thankfully the movie had his undivided attention and the bottle cap had moved down his list of things to pay attention too. Phew, another fantastically successful “DAD” moment. Good times.

So meanwhile back to Megamind. It seems to me the movie formula for kids stories has changed pretty drastically over the years. When I was a kid you knew who was good and who was bad. It seems the world – even for children – is a lot more complex. Grey as opposed to black and white. I find this to be a little saddening for me. Because I remember those fairy tales and myths that had that clear black and white. It made my life easier as a kid. Megamind is not such a black and white story. It  is a funny but complex movie that has almost every character turn out to be something different than you thought they would be by the time it ends. With the exception of Tina Fey who is just sexy hot in that librarian, smart girl sort of way. Her character stays true to herself throughout. It is the male characters who seem to struggle with who they are. Begging questions such as; is this what I really want, who do I want to be, why is this life so hard, etc. Pretty deep for a 5 year old right? Let’s just say that Julian has not spoken of the movie since we saw it. Probably traumtized by the loss of that bottlecap. However, Toy Story 3, he speaks of and remembers with great excitement. Take that for what it’s worth. I enjoyed Megamind in many ways but found its characters to be a little off in their attempt to be authentic. I would recommend this movie for older kids (10-13+/-) who may be learning for the first time that the world isn’t all black and white and that some of the decisions they make on a daily basis really can determine who they become as they grow into adulthood. So as our kids struggle to make up their “Mega minds” this movie could be a descent discussion starter between you and your adolescent.  

Until next week… I’ll be watching

p.s. if you see a white water bottle cap under the middle seat in the 13th row in theater 1, DON’T reach down there to get it. I’m convinced it’s a trap and if you should disappear I cannot promise we can get you out. You’ve been warned.

Nov
05

Matt Damon at the 66th Venice International Fi...

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Week 44: Hereafter

Saturday 10-23-10

Showtime 7:15 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 12

Right off the bat my Overture Of Opportunistic Ovationers. I am very excited to discuss with you the movie Hereafter directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon. I must warn you that you should send the kids out of the room. There is some language. There are some pretty deep and closely held beliefs expressed here. I will not apologize for any of them. But I want you to know that this film has provoked in me some powerful metal and emotional responses. I hope this short essay as it were, will inspire and challenge your thoughts and encourage you to see this film. I must preface this review with the comment and a reminder that I am an abstract thinker. So I often times will walk away from a film experience and go a completely different direction than most. So if you go see this movie and walk away wondering where the hell I came up with what I am about to share it’s ok. Like many of you I also suffer from some convoluted thought process which may or may not prove I have OCD, ADD, IHT or just too much fat in my brain. Please now settle yourself and know that this may be difficult for some of us to read. I will freely admit that while I wrote there where moments that I had to stop and bawl for a minute. I would then collect myself and continue. So if this happens for you. I say good. We Americans don’t cry as often as we should. With that let’s dive in together.

First let’s talk about the film itself then we can move on to my response to it. First off you should know that this is not a sweep you off you feet sort of movie. It starts with an opening sequence that will get you into the story and sets the stage for where the story goes. But it evolves into a story about more than just a few people and into one that looks at many while following 3 main characters in their unique storylines.

There are times when the pace fo the story is slow but not crawling. Simply stick with it so that you may get the payoffs that come as a result of the groundwork being laid. Please do not look away just because there are subtitles. Instead, sit up, pay attention. There is a lot of subtlety going on here and you must think for yourself to make this story work and allow it to effect you.

I absolutely love Matt Damon’s character and the genuine understated performance. He plays an everyman sort of guy who gained a genuine ability but found it too hard to live with. So he has tried to live a normal life even though, of all the professed psychics and profits out there, he is the genuine article. At least that was my conclusion. You can decide for yourself. I alos love Bryce Dallas Howard. And pretty much in every role I have seen her play. Watch her interaction with Damon’s charater in the apartment scene. You will see how talented she is. What Range!

Is this a movie about heaven? Is this a movie about purgatory? Is this simply an intellectual attempt to suggest what might happen after we die? All good questions. After you see it I look forward to your ideas, thoughts and questions. I wont even be upset if you don’t have any new answers as I don’t think clear answers are in the purpose of this film. Only a thoughtful and smart view of one possible reality. I hope you find the discussions you have coming out of this movie as stimulating as mine. Now if you are ready here is my response to the Hereafter. 

You can’t know what it’s like to question life after death with all the strength of emotion required until you have lost someone. Until you are faced with the question “Will I ever see them again?” You will never know the empty feeling of loss and the ache of being without them.

I was told when I was divorcing my first wife that it would have been better if she would have died because that was more final and my mind and emotion would have an easier time dealing with that finality.

I am here today to say, “That is BULLSHIT!”  When my mother died I was counseled by the experts to “move on”. I want to know exactly what I was supposed to be moving on from. Just exactly what does that look like? When our loved ones die do we just leave them behind? Do we just try and forget about them a little more each year?

The fact is that we as people can’t just let go. We have never been able to. We don’t just move on. Come on people if we can hold grudges and refuse to forgive or even speak to the living for a lifetime, how on earth will we ever be able to forget a deceased friend. The reality is that our minds are simply too good at recording every sensation we experience our whole lives; sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, hot, cold, pain, love, joy, happiness, depression… and when there is something or someone missing that once held a large part of our emotion, our psyche, our spirit. We cannot just pretend like it never happened or as the experts suggest “learn how to deal with it.” For me it just takes a momoent for all the strength of emotion to overwhelm me when I am faced with a memory of someone lost to death.

The truth is that we miss that person who died. We miss them for good reasons and for bad ones. Some people who died we wish we could forget. Others are missed…and we spend the rest of our lives wondering how our lives will ever be ok without them. But like it or not we are connected to them in life and I believe in death as well. But honestly I can’t really say if all that is true. I could be wrong. It’s simply something that I believe all humans feel and, when we are truly honest, find the strong emotions that accompany these thoughts and experiences hard to deny.

When I think of my Mom and speak of the memories I have of her, particularly when I talk with family who shared in those memories, I am comforted and for a few moments it feels like she is still with us. Those memories hold strong feelings. But in the hours that follow and the weeks and years that pass I am ever reminded of all the memories that I will never share with her. This hurts and my heart longs to see her again. To hear her voice. Just to speak with her once more.

If there is no place where we go when we die. If there is no hope of heaven or paradise; a place of eternal rest, free from pain and suffering. Then the days of my life seem wasted to me. It seems all the trouble of this life didn’t have a purpose to make me a better person or prepare me somehow for the life beyond. If there is no hope for me to see my loved ones who have already met death and are somewhere that I can’t go… or prove exists, then I struggle to believe much of anything.

But what really gets me are those who suffer greatly at the hands of man, at the hands of circumstance, at the effects of nature, social status or lack of it, industrialization, population, disease, crime, war, hate, greed, violence, apathy… For them I have to wonder why not just end it all. If there is no chance for things to get better, if there is no one who will take up your cause when you cannot for yourself AND there is nothing when you die then why persist here. Why do we even struggle to keep on living? This more than anything will keep me awake at night wondering.

You see, I think deep down. (take minute now and open your mind… open your heart.) We all know that this life just is not enough. We already know there is something more right? We just don’t like admitting that we don’t know exactly what it is. Or we are afraid to be labeled a fanatic or freak if we accept the proposals of religion or the bible or whatever beliefs we might subscribe to. We think that if it cannot be known then it is not worth our pursuit. I say consider my example above of those who sufer and die.

I challenge everyone to look back on the day of death. The day you lost a loved one and tell me you do not secretly or openly look forward to the time you will see them again and that without that hope you struggle with the question of just what are we all doing here anyway?

Remember Horton Hears a Who from Dr. Suess? I would say to you what Horton the elephant had to say over and over again to a particular Kangaroo. The Kangaroo refused to believe in something she could not personally see, hear or feel. Horton persisted in proclaiming that there were people somewhere she could not see, could not hear and could not feel. But the ‘Who’s’ were there whether she chose to believe it or not. I like how similar to Dr. Suess the movie “Hereafter” suggests the idea that there are the souls or spirits of those we loved and hated who have now departed our physical world and now may exist somewhere else. Matt Damon’s character like Horton the elephant can see and hear and feel what we cannot in a place we cannot yet experience  and yet that somewhere may not be a far off place but a place still very close to our hearts and our hopes.

I want to let you know that I miss my mom everyday. I believe that we all have trouble with death. Not because of the loss but because it is not the way things are supposed to be. In this life, I believe death is an open wound that NEVER heals and I would not have it any other way. I hope that as we hurt, as we long for those we have lost in death and try to understand what it means to leave this world that we might together long for a better place and a life that does not end.

Thank you for reading along. I am interested to know what you think. Please leave a comment if you want to contribute to the conversation and check back to see how it is going.

Until next week… I’ll be watching

Oct
30

Paranormal Activity (film)

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Week 43: Paranormal Activity 2

Sunday 10-22-10

Showtime: 7:15 PM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 1

Have you even been really scared? I mean almost losing control of your bodily functions scared. I have twice! Once when I was a kid of about 11, I was on one of those Halloween hayride fall festival outings with a bunch of friends. We were on the “monster walk”. You know when they take you through some trails in the woods… in the dark… with a guide and costumed characters dressed as monsters jump from behind the rocks and trees with a flashlight shining up from beneath their chin to make their face light up with the terror of the creature they portray. Well there I was joking with my friends “Ooooo it’s sooooo scary!” We were laughing and goofing around. You know doing what 11 year olds do. Occasionally we would see someone else ahead of us in the line jump and be scared by an actor. But we were men of 11 and that wasn’t gonna happen to us. Then it happened to us. Unfortunately I was last in the line. I have since learned that unless you are armed with an AK47 Automatic Rifle or worse, never volunteer to bring up the rear (hey, that rhymes). Apparently they had this one creature that would wait until everyone in the group would pass by and then grab – yes I said grab – a kid from the end of the line and haul them back into the trees. I know this must have been before my parents could have slapped that place with a lawsuit for molestation by a cone head. Yes, the character that terrorized me to the very brink of wetting myself was a cone head. When that guy came from behind the tree and grabbed me I thought I was having a seizure. First I froze and then convulsed a little as gallons of adrenaline dumped into my stomach and legs. I didn’t scream but I think that if this person had really intended to harm me that there would have been little that I would have been capable of doing to prevent it. I was, at least for the first few seconds, at his mercy.

The last time I was really scared was flying into Vegas from San Francisco in a thunder storm. I can’t say for sure but I think I turned completely white twice as our pilot tried to navigate our way out of the storm and onto the ground. I have never been on a flight where the plane rocked 180 degrees, turning from side to side just before landing. And I have never had a pilot apologize and say that he was sorry but was glad to get us all on the ground. I think many passengers left the plane a little embarrassed by the stains left in their chairs.

Speaking of staining chairs sometimes I think some of the things that go on at my local movie theater stink. So, at this time I feel that I need to share with you the good the bad and the ugly of seeing movies in eureka this past week.

First ‘the good’ The now infamous Broadway Cinema has started a fun thing called Friday Night Live where they come into certain theaters and raffle off swag before the movie. Usually a movie poster or baseball cap. After the movie they even give you a couple of cells from the actual film as a keepsake. I now have scenes from Devil and Paranormal Activity 2. I think this is a wonderful and creative idea to get people excited about going to the movies. Good job C.A. theaters.

Second ‘the bad’ when I slid up to the ticket window with my lovely wife this past week the ticket agent told me that I had a ton of rewards that had not been used. 2 free movie passes, 4 discounts on popcorn, 3 discounts on drinks, etc. He then asked, “How would you like to go to the movies for free tonight?” I said “Sounds good to me” He then proceeded to fidget with the touchpad screen and then call over to the ticket agent sitting next to him for some advice. Finally he came back with the kind of customer service I have come to expect from Eureka and in particular the Broadway Cinema. He said, “It looks like this thing doesn’t want to work, sorry that’ll be $18.00”

Third ‘The Ugly’ I am not sure but almost every time I go into theater #1. The BIG theater at the Broadway Cinema I can’t help but notice that something else has gone wrong or is falling apart. Example: when I moved to Eureka 2 years ago there was this cool red glow that surrounded the screen when you came into the theater before the movie began. It created an exciting ambiance. A few months later the light cords that produced this red glow were falling down, burning out or pulling away from their mounts. There has never been any repair done to these light strings and little by little they all are just going out or falling down. But that isn’t what really gets me. There is a hole in the center of the screen the size of a grapefruit and it drives me nuts. For the price I pay to go to the movies their screen better be in better condition than the one I have at home otherwise they will eventually lose my business to Netflix. I would rather wait for a movie than pay for poor quality.

Now getting back to being scared. How about you? Ever face that thing that was so terrifying that you just are not prepared for how scared you are? Leave a comment if you can think of one. If you can’t come up with anything go see Paranormal Activity 2. I am not going to pretend that this movie is the scariest movie ever. Just like the first one it does an excellent job of creating tension and anxiety that make those big scare moments really pay off. For me it was a wonderfully scary experience in a number of ways. First it was clear that the director had accomplished his mission when people in the theater were so invested in the movie that they were calling out at the screen – “No! don’t leave him alone!” I personally found myself squirming in my chair and counted no less than 7 tingles. 7 manly tingles of course. You know, hair standing up on the back of your neck, chills running up or down your spine, maybe even you booty tightening up a little, a sudden desire to gird your loins (remember I said they were manly tingles). Since I had my wife on my arm I knew she was scared as well when near the end of the movie my left arm lost all sensation from her squeezing so hard it cut off the circulation. I say go see it with someone you can depend on not to leave you alone when you get home. That way you can recover and actually be ok using the bathroom by yourself again… after about a week or 2.

You should know that this movie truly is a phenomenon. The first one became the most profitable movie in history trumping the Blair Witch project from a decade earlier. PA had a budget of approx. $25,000 and went on to top $65,000,000 in box office returns. Well PA 2 did some phenomenal things as well. It set the record for biggest horror movie opening in history at $41,000,000 for the opening weekend. It knocked off Friday the 13th which held the honor previously.  PA2 was made on a $3,000,000 budget. Even though that is 120 times the original budget no one is upset with the profit this shoestring budget horror film produced. One way they kept the excitement high on the production of PA 2 was to not let people know who was in it during filming. I am serious. This is important and you will see why when you go to see the movie… and you WILL go see it. You have to. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Especially if you saw Blair Witch…or own Blair Witch on VHS, you know who you are. You must go see PA 2. And if you haven’t watched the first PA then go rent or download it first. Then hustle on down to the late show at your local movie house with your friends and get scared together.  Hey grabbing onto your friends in a movie theater beats getting grabbed by a cone head in the woods or grabbing a stranger on the plane to Vegas. You’ll just have to trust me on that one.

So there it is. I guess in life you just have to take the good with the bad. By the way, If Paranormal Activity 2 is just too much for you and you can’t handle being scared. Do yourself a favor and go see “Hereafter” starring Matt Damon and directed by Clint Eastwood. You will be glad you did. I have seen it and will post a blog entry soon.

My friends… Until next week… I’ll be watching

Oct
28

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency of the...

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Week 42: RED

Sunday 10-16-10

Showtime: 10:20 AM

Location: Broadway Cinema, Theater 2

Sometimes things in life sneak up on you. Like how fast April 15th seems to happen every year. How about just how quickly birthdays seem to stack up on you. I even have a knack for sneaking up on my wife like a ninja and scaring her even if I wasn’t trying. If you could see me you would laugh because this would almost certainly make me the world’s largest ninja. What is it for you that sneaks up and catches you by surprise? Are the surprises wanted… as in something good or desirable or are the surprises dreaded or to be feared? I think for most of us the things that sneak up on us can be both good and bad, unfortunately we often do not get to choose what exactly stalks us and then in that moment of surprise quickly forces the breath from our lungs in a momentary gasp of unplanned exhilaration. Let me give you an example. It is your birthday and you know your wife has not had time to plan anything so you are looking forward to a quiet evening at home. Maybe the two of you can go out to celebrate this weekend. At the last minute you decide to be spontaneous and get yourself a light up red bowtie and pull the old trench coat from the from the trunk of the car. Your plan is to sneak up to the front door wearing nothing but the bowtie covered by the trench coat. You quietly slide you key into the lock gently turning the mechanism so as to not garner any attention until you are safely inside. You then close the door behind you, set down your bag, and call out into the dimly lit family room, “Honey, your birthday boy is home!” In almost the same instant you discard the trench coat revealing your ageless male form just as the lights in the room come on and all of your friends, along with your wife, jump out from behind the furniture and yell surprise!

So maybe some things that were intended for good sometimes do go bad. Hmmm… But that is not the case for this week’s movie RED (Retired. Extremely. Dangerous.) This movie is truly an all star cast and it works so smoothly that is ‘sneaks’ up on you as to how good it is. Originally a graphic novel featuring a complete outsider who gets brought into the lives of this group of former CIA agents this story does a great job of letting you see what can go wrong when you are clearly in over your head. Bruce Willis does what he does in this movie and does it well. Morgan Freeman is also outstanding playing a very cool character. John Malkovich may be the most fun of the group but Helen Mirren is the icing on the cake as the long range weapons expert. For you lay people that would be a sniper.

This movie has action, gunplay, violence and that woman (Rebecca Pidgeon) with the annoyingly strange way of speaking from the Spanish Prisoner. If you have no idea who I am talking about stop what you are doing and go stream, download, rent or buy the Spanish Prisoner (Starring Steve Martin) you can thank me later.  Bottom line this is a fun and entertaining action movie with some heart and warmth to it. The thing that struck me the most about this movie was how much fun it looked like the actors were having doing it.

No let’s talk about a recurring theme here in the “movie madness” blog. This unfortunately is NOT as much fun as the movie RED was. If you have been reading the now world famous MickGee from the beginning you know that I am a rewards club member with our local Coming Attractions Theaters. By the way, do you think they know that their website (www.catheatres.com) comes up when you search for either Catheters (yes that’s the medical device to catch your pee) and Cat Heaters (I have no idea who is searching for this – maybe people with very old cats)? So when I purchase anything from the theater I have them swipe my card and they give me free stuff or discounts on stuff. Well it seems in a stunning turn of events that CA Theaters has changed the program. The way it used to work was you would spend $40 at the theater and get a reward. Maybe $3.00 off a drink or even a free movie pass. These rewards would be issued in the form of a coupon that would print from the box office when you purchased your ticket. It appears that they no longer print your coupons. Yes your rewards are still there it’s just that you can’t see them or be notified in any way that you have them. Apparently it is up to you to remember to ask the theater worker to check to see if you have any rewards. This is a real bummer for me. You see I used to give out these rewards to those under privileged movie goers who could not spring for the $8 popcorn and $5 soda. I simply handed them a coupon for some discount snacks and a couple of free movie passes and I could created the perfect date night for a friend. Now NO MORE. Since my theater no longer allows me to share my rewards I will have to use them myself.

So this has been a week of surprises for me. I got to go to Vegas for the first time. I enjoyed a movie from some veteran actors that I really enjoyed and my rewards program now sucks because they are enforcing that “these rewards are not transferable” clause in the terms and conditions. I am guessing this would probably not be the week to go get that proctology exam. I’m just sayin’

So next time you want to be surprised and have the outcome be a good thing Go get in line for the midnight showing of Paranormal Activity 2. I will be there for the late show. If you want to see something surprising you should go too.

Until next week…I’ll be watching