Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Depp’

I just have to break into the Christmas blogs to tell you about the movie we saw last night! An attorney friend of ours recommended Hugo  to us, so we used two of the grandkids as an excuse to go see it. Without a doubt, Hugo was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time!

Hugo is about an orphan boy trying to understand life after his father dies.  But it is also about an old man (Ben Kingsley) trying to understand life after his creative work disappears.  So, you see, it is not just another sappy story about little orphan Annie, nor is it On Golden Pond. And I didn’t even mention the subplots involving the policeman and the flower lady or the dachshund owners or the protective wife or the academic,  or  . . . . just so many interesting characters.

Martin Scorsese directed this film that Johnny Depp produced. What does that tell you?? Just that two of the most talented people in the film business invested their talent and money into a relatively small film. Why would they have done that?

What the trailers and the synopses don’t tell you is that this little film is also a tribute to the earliest days of cinema.  The more you know about cinema at the turn of the 20th century, the more you will enjoy the film.  Just a hint:  if you don’t know much and would like to read a little before watching the movie, read the Wikipedia article on Georges Melies.

The photography is beautiful.  Be sure and notice the artistry in the train station scenes. The recurring images of clocks and trains are not only interwoven into the storyline, but they too are allusions and homages to early films.

Our grandkids liked the part about the automaton best! The magic and illusion of cinema is at its best in this film.  And the young hero’s conclusion that there are no extra parts in machines, i.e., that each part has an essential purpose was easy conversation on the way home. God didn’t make extra people with no purpose! Everyone has a purpose and things to do: “for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

It may not be a Christmas movie, but there is a message of hope and peace that you will savor! This movie was so good that you can borrow some of our grandkids if you need an excuse to go!


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Just got back from taking four of the gkids to the Friday children’s matinee where we saw Despicable Me (2010, PG), which was a surprisingly good film. Somehow we had heard a bad report on it when it first came out, so had avoided it. I loved the little minions, but especially the transformation of one of the villains. Did everyone else think that Vector was supposed to look like Bill Gates??

Anyway, it reminded me of how helpful recommendations for kid films are, and since we have been doing grandkids now for a week and have seen several, I thought I’d give you a short review of several current movies playing.

Cars 2 (G) was entertaining for all of the grandkids, but the younger ones (4-6) lost interest several times.  This sequel brings back characters like Lightening McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) from the first movie, but introduces new British car-characters Finn McMissle (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) for the James Bond – like plot.  In the spirit of Wall-E (2008), this film has an eco-message about oil and alternative fuel, but don’t worry because this message is totally lost on all the children.  It does open good conversations about the need to adapt to different cultures and about the value of every person’s culture—even if it doesn’t seem like culture at all.

Super 8 (PG-13) As you probably have heard, this is a nostalgic piece by J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, so it is everything you hoped it would be.  I have described it to friends as a mix of Stand by Me (one of my favorite films ever!), Goonies (one of our kids’ favorite films ever), and E.T. (one of everyone’s favorites ever!), so how could it go wrong.  The children are the stars, the government men are the bad guys, and the alien is the victim.  I’m sure the PG-13 rating is for bad language (just like Stand By Me and Goonies) and for some pretty heavy emotions (just like ET).  I would pay attention to the age recommendations on this one, but for teens and you adult kids, you’ll love it.

X-Men: First Class (PG-13) The whole X-Men series has been especially good for a superpower series. For the most part, it has avoided silliness and has maintained some level of real human emotions to carry the characters. Hugh Jackman, the best of the X-men, only has a cameo in this prequel, but even that is done well.  Those of you who have seen the others will enjoy learning the backstory of Professor X and Magneto.  For those who need a redemptive message to enjoy this kind of fantasy, the ongoing conversation about “others” is more significant in this film than in previous four X-men films, i.e., how the society treats people it deems to be different. If you can’t generate a meaningful conversation with your teens from this film, then you weren’t paying attention!

I have given up completely on the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I really like Johnny Depp, but these films deep sixed about two sequels ago! We won’t be seeing Mr. Popper’s Penguins either because Jim Carrey’s films of this genre are the same exaggerated gags over and over again.

Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows 2 comes out this week. Sherrylee doesn’t like the Potter films, so I’ll probably go with someone else, but I have intentionally avoided seeing Deathly Hallows 1, so I could see the whole finale at once. I’d love to see it at an IMAX.  We certainly will take the kids to see The Smurfs and I hear good things about Green Lantern.

Just for you adults out there, I think Midnight in Paris looks like it could be the movie that brings people back to Woody Allen. Many of us who were fans of his earlier films have yearned for something truly interesting and intelligent instead of what he has offered over the last couple of decades: quirky and off-color.

Any word on Captain America: The First Avenger?  I usually don’t care much for revenge films, but I have not really seen what the storyline is yet.

Our grandkids loved Hansel and Gretel which we downstreamed on Netflix, and they loved the Yul Brenner – Deborah Kerr version of The King and I (1956). Anna designated it her now most favorite movie! But she prefers the original name Anna and the King of Siam. That’s a pretty big award for a classic film from an eight-year-old!

Hope that helps you in your summer film watching. I’ll try to update as we see more.

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