Tag Archives: adventure

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) PG-13

Snow White and the HuntsmanSnow White and the Huntsman is a new take on an old tale. After the wicked witch Ravenna (Charlize Theron) marries and then murders her father (the king), Snow White (Kristen Stewart) must escape the only home she’s ever known to try and find the remnants of her father’s supporters in order to win back the throne. Ravenna sends a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track Snow down in the haunted forest as war looms on the horizon.

This movie had great action scenes and both Theron and Stewart gave excellent performances. Snow White and the Huntsman is an updated, action-filled version of the classic Disney movie which focuses less on romance and more on magic and war.

Red (2010) PG-13

Bruce Willis is Frank Moses, a retired black-ops CIA agent living in Cleveland. Frank is lonely and often calls customer service agent Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) who works in the GSA pension office. He deliberately tears up his pension checks so he has an excuse to call her to say his checks never arrived.

One night a hit squad raids his house and tries to eliminate him. Knowing the assassins tapped his phone, he goes to save Sarah, who doesn’t want to go with him. He binds and gags her with duct tape and takes her with him while he tries to find out who is after them.

Red provides a lot of action and laughs and a happy ending starring Willis, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman among others. And if you enjoy this film, you’ll be excited to know that the sequel hits theaters next week!

Cars (2006) G

As part of my “homework” for an upcoming trip to Disneyland, I finally watched Cars. I can see how this movie has become a favorite for kids and adults alike – with a combination of Pixar animation, talented voice actors (Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, and Larry the Cable Guy, to name a few), humor and action, plus a nostalgic Route 66 setting, there’s something for everyone.

Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is an up-and-coming talented racer with an attitude problem. When he ends up stranded in ramshackle Radiator Springs, he discovers there’s more to life than winning.

Spotlight: Ben Affleck

Who is Ben Affleck anyway?

After an early start at the age of eight, starring in the PBS series The Voyage of the Mimi, Ben Affleck didn’t make his big introduction into feature films until 1993 when he was cast in Dazed and Confused. After that, he did mostly independent films like Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (1995) and Chasing Amy (1997).

Interestingly, in the same year he made Mimi, Affleck made the acquaintance of Matt Damon, a boy two years his senior who lived down the street. The two became best friends and, of course, eventual collaborators.

In his early years in Hollywood, tired of being turned down for the big roles in films and the forgettable supporting ones he did play, he decided to write his own script. Matt Damon was having the same trouble and together they produced a script with the kind of roles they wanted to play! Good Will Hunting (1997) was the result and it went on to win two Academy Awards (nominated for nine).

Career ups and downs followed with much media attention to romance and rehab. After many flops, he seems to have re-invented himself as a director.

He’s has earned critical acclaim for directing films including The Town and Argo so perhaps Affleck’s greatest talent lies behind the camera where reviews of his films call him ”a sensitive, thoughtful and collaborative” director.

Here are my choices from a long list of his films:

Spotlight: Edward Norton

One actor whose films I’m always anxious to watch is Edward Norton. He is so gifted and versatile. The characters he plays are often intense and/or troubled, and always captivating and true-to-life. My favorite films are American History X (1998) and Primal Fear (1996), although I’ve also enjoyed many others. Here’s a selection of some of his movies that are available at IPPL:

Arabesque (1966)

In the tradition of Hitchcock, director Stanley Donen weaves a story of international intrigue. When an Arab prime minister recruits Professor Pollock (Gregory Peck) to unravel a hieroglyphic code which is at the heart of an assassination plot, Pollock must gain access to the household of the diabolical Beshraavi (Alan Badel).

Beshraavi’s mistress Yasmin (Sophia Loren), presents another challenge—is the lovely Yasmin friend or foe? This fun, somewhat lighthearted suspense movie holds up well despite its 1966 release date.

Check out Arabesque today!

Hugo (2011) PG

I usually begin my reviews by stating the year of the film and listing the main stars. I briefly describe the plot, perhaps quote a line from the film or describe a scene and emphasize what I believe are some of the high points of the film.

In this case, I decided to write my review as I approached viewing the film. I knew almost nothing about the film. All that I knew was that it won several Oscars, and I had seen a few brief snippets during the Academy Awards ceremony. I chose not to find out anything more about the film, and I would advise anyone who has not seen this film to take the same approach.

If you appreciate art, science, fantasy, a vivid imagination, you will love this film. If you don’t appreciate art, if science bores you, if you look at a cloud and that’s all you see, you won’t like the film.

This film reminded me of what it was like to see a motion picture in a movie theater for the first time. I was amazed and filled with a great sense of wonder. You too can experience this again, if you see this film.

Based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Join us on Friday, May 4 at 7:00 for a screening of Hugo. Doors open at 6:30; fresh popcorn will be served. Register at calendar.ippl.info.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011) PG-13

Cowboys & Aliens stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. It is a combination sci-fi/western picture. My initial reaction to the title and to a few previews I saw was, “Give me a break, how silly can you get?” But a few people told me it was a pretty good movie, so I decided to give it a chance. And I am now very glad I did.

This is a fun movie. It works very well as an old fashioned 1950s sci-fi movie set in the “Hollywood West.” Daniel Craig gives a wonderful performance as Jake Lonergan, a bad guy turned good who sets out to right past wrongs. It’s as though James Bond was sent to the past without a memory of who he was, what his mission is, or any of his special gadgets except one, which he does not know how to use. But he retains his martial arts ability and his ability to “think on his feet.”

So sit back and enjoy.