Tag Archives: movie

Movie Review: Ender’s Game

I recently read the book, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, and wrote a review. Last night, I saw the movie. A couple of observations are in order.

First, the movie–insomuch as it follows the book–follows the book closely. There is a lot left out, but little if anything is added or changed.

Second, the movie–as far as what it does leave out–leaves out a lot. With regards to what the movie intended to cover, what it left out is not too much or bad. But, for those who love the book and everything that is going on, it will feel different and you will miss what it is lacking.

Third, the movie does change, or at least emphasize, one thing a bit more explicitly than I remember the book doing. The movie seems to take a stronger stance, a more explicit stance, to the immorality of what the military does with Ender and the military enemies. Readers will argue that it is there, but the movie makes it plainer.

Fourth, the movie suffers from something I think all movies suffer from as a result of the medium. There is a lot going on mentally and emotionally with Ender in the book that cannot be made as clear or as plain in the movie. It can’t tell you every thought or feeling he experiences without distracting from the film the way the book can. That’s sad because his mental and emotional anguish is a big part of the book.

Finally, let me say the movie is entertaining and worth watching. It can provoke many of the same types of conversations that reading the book can, if only to a lesser degree or with a bit less detail and information. I’d recommend it to others.

Review: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of OzThe Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an enjoyable blast from the past. I don’t think I had realized, though, that I had never read the story until now. Apparently, I had only ever seen the movie, because there were a lot of things in the book that were new to me, most noticeably the color of Dorothy’s slippers and the missing dream sequence.

The story is a good one. I’ve read folks who claim the book is an allegory arguing against the United States returning to a gold backed currency, in favor of a silver one instead. I suppose that may be the case, but the fuller story in the book ends with an emphasis on Dorothy and the friendships and experiences she developed with the lion, tin woodman, and scarecrow. A good emphasis, I might add.

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Movie Review: The History of Future Folk

future folk

The History of Future Folk
Rated 4.5 Stars

What a good story. It’s fun and quirky. Being unrated, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was good, clean fun. There’s something incredible to the story, as well. The two members of Future Folk Hondonians, General Trius and Mighty Kevin, are supposed to destroy the humans living on planet earth, but each are converted from their task when they get introduced to music.

Apparently, humans are the only creatures in all of space that have created music. And Trius and Kevin are unable to end the lives of a species that could discover such a gift. What’s especially incredible is that even when they are wronged or hurt by their fellow humans, music keeps them from hating and exacting any kind of vengeance. You even find that it is natural for them to use their music to try to change and help others for the better.

As Dostoyevsky would say, “Beauty will save the world!”

Stream on Netflix

Review: Fellowship Of The Ring (LOTR #1)

Fellowship Of The Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1). by J RR Tolkein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is my first time reading this book since the original reading in 2001. I remember being mocked at the time because I was “jumping on the bandwagon.” In other words, I was only reading the books because the movie was about to come out. In some sense, that is true–and I’m actually quite thankful of the movies for that reason. But, it is not the case that I had heard of the books and wasn’t interested in them until some Hollywood mogul decided they were worthy of the big screen. I had never heard of the books until the movies, which says more about my childhood and education than anything else.

Now, I’m reading them again for the first time in 12 years. I’ve noticed a few things.

1. I love them. These books are amazing.
2. I remember scenes from the books I read in 2001 more vividly than I do the same scenes from the movies! That says something about the power of words, and especially about Tolkien’s command of language.
3. Samwise Gamgee may be the Archetypal friend. I saw a poll awhile back that identified Atticus Finch as literature’s greatest dad. Well, Samwise Gamgee should be recognized as literature’s greatest friend.
4. Aragorn is a great leader, and its probably because he’s a reluctant leader.

After finishing the book last night, I turned on the television and they were replaying The Two Towers film. I only watched a bit of it, because I know that book’s up next!

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Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

So, I watched The Great Gatsby last night. I was impressed. It almost had a Dick Tracy kind of feel to it, kind of cartoonish, almost. They kept fairly close to the book, which I had just read and reviewed last month, and where they departed from it, they were either saving time or embellishing.

The one thing I noticed was the director’s/producer’s (not sure which, maybe even the screenwriter’s) take on the story was slightly different than mine. I didn’t say this in my review of the book, but I walked away from it with the impression that the characters biggest mistake was trying to escape the past, their homes, their families, and create something for themselves bigger, newer, richer, sexier, gaudier in the Big City. Gatsby was the Great Gatsby because he was the only one who both was trying to reach back into his past (at least part way) and pull Daisy into his future, and also had the purest motive in trying to establish his future: love.

In the movie, however, it seemed that their biggest mistake was simply building a life around money. At one point, Nick Carraway condemns everyone but Gatsby as people who simply crashed into everything around the, people and things, destroying it all, then “retreating into their money.” It seemed to be more of a social commentary on the one percent, than it was on a culture trying to forget its past.

I think I’ve got the better read on the book than the movie makers do, but I’d like to know what you think. What was Fitzgerald trying to tell us?

Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Last night, I watched Silver Linings Playbook with my wife and some friends. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a man who has been ripped from his community (friends, family, wife, job, etc.) because of an emotional outburst where he beat another man. Eight months later, he finds himself released from the mental hospital that was rehabilitating him. Upon returning to his parents home, you find that everyone in his life is crazy enough to have been in the same mental hospital, but for a little luck they aren’t.

Pat meets Tiffany. Another “crazy” person whose craziness stems from the loss of her husband. They team up to help each other with their problems–he wants to win back his wife, she wants to compete in a team dance competition. From there, it is a typical romantic comedy. Does he really love Tiffany or his wife? Who will get together with whom? Will anyone get together with anyone?

*SPOILER*

*SPOILER*

The movie ends well, because–from the romantic comedy perspective–you want Pat to end up with the right girl, and he does.

The movie ends well, because Pat overcomes his craziness with the help of his restoration to community–his father acts like a dad, his mother loves him through it all, his friends gather round to support him, and Tiffany encourages him in all the right ways.

The movie ends well, because Pat isn’t cured by sex or love alone, but by learning to live life guided by principles and commitments–not by following his passions and appetites. In fact, it was living life by the seat of his pants, by his passions and appetites, that ended him up in the loony bin.

It was a fun film: several laugh-out-loud moments, some sweet moments, some dark, serious moments.

It was a film that is for mature audiences. Much more use of expletives and taking the Lord’s name in vain than I expected–although I chalk that up to the directors trying to make it seem more “real” for a Philadelphia family. There was some nudity in Pat’s flashbacks, disturbing, but reflected the disturbing reality of the event that drove him nuts.

And, finally, Bradley Cooper was an amazing actor in this film. He seemed legit in the role. Jennifer Lawrence was good, too, which might explain her Golden Globe for best actress. But I haven’t seen Lawrence in any other film, so I don’t have anything to compare her performance to. Golden Globe good? I don’t know. But good. And DeNiro? Yeah, he was good.