Saving Mr. Banks

    Saving Mr. Banks is a comedy drama placed in 1906 Austria, and 1961 to 1964 in London England, and Los Angeles, California. This film is about Mrs. Pamela L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson. Mrs. Travers is the author of Mary Poppins, and has been in a 20 year fight with Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, to work out a rights deal so Walt can make a movie about Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers isn’t ready to let Mary Poppins go, but when she is running low on funds, she must fly into Los Angeles to work out a deal. Other main stars include Colin Farrell as Robert Goff Travers father of Mrs. Travers, Bradley Whitford as Don Dagradi, Paul Giamatti as Ralph the driver, and Jason Schwartzman as Richard Morton Sherman.

    This film has a unique way of telling its story, switching from the 1960s back to 1906 to show Mrs. Travers childhood, and how the story Mary Poppins came to be. By showing Mrs. Travers’ childhood, and how her broken family operated, the audience makes a strong emotional connection. Thoughtout the movie one element in a scene triggers a flashback. The first scene is a flashback to 1906, where young Mrs. Travers is sitting in a park building a little house out of sticks, leaves, and flowers. This first scene shows her strong bond with her father. Seeing Mrs. Travers so young and innocent, enjoying life, really touches the heart.

    Another aspect of Saving Mr. Banks that I am compelled to highlight, is that it is amazing seeing how the film Mary Poppins comes together. The audience sees how lines are created, and most entertaining, seeing how the team comes up with the musical numbers. One of my favorite scenes as I sat in the theater, was when Richard and Robert Sherman are coming up with the lyrics to “A Spoonful of Sugar.” To see some of the musical numbers, with some actors’ prospective click here.

    According to Rotten Tomatoes, Saving Mr. Banks earned itself $81 million in the box office, and 7 out of 10. With this film winning over the critics, the audience was soon to follow, giving Saving Mr. Banks 4.2 out of 5 stars.

    “The sap doesn’t run too thick, although it does run, and the movie certainly has a patented Disney upbeat feel much of the time. It’s more a spoonful of sugar than medicine for aging baby boomer’s souls.” said Tom Long from The Detroit News.

    “The screenplay, by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, seamlessly captures two different eras with overlapping storylines that never intrude or confuse.” said Rex Reed from The New York Observer.

    Saving Mr. Banks made a strong connection, making me appreciate the film Mary Poppins all that much more. This film made myself and the audience long to know what was going to happen next, how Mrs. Travers was going to react to Walt and his changes, and when he was going to get the rights. Saving Mr. Banks is a movie that I will watch again and again. In my book, Saving Mr. Banks earned itself 8 out of 10 stars.

     Stay during the credits to hear some of the actual recordings of Mrs. Travers and the team, and pictures of the filming, crew, and the movie release.

 

See you at the Movies!

~Marion

Lone Survivor

    Lone Survivor is an action adventure drama placed in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. This film starts with videos and pictures of military training. Showing the viewers what it takes to become part of the Navy, an amazing test of body and mind. After these videos and photos, we are introduced to our four main soldiers; Marcus Luttrell, played by Mark Wahlberg, Matt Axelson, played by Ben Foster, Danny Dietz, played by Emile Hirsch, and Mike Murphy, played by Taylor Kitsch.

    Lone Survivor is based on The New York Times Best Seller “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10” published June 12, 2007. This event originally occurred in 2005. To learn more about the book click Barns & Noble.

   This film hits home, showing how lucky we are to be living in America, and how sheltered and cut off from the rest of the world we can be. Throughout Lone Survivor the whole audience was silent, afraid to breathe and miss a single detail. As I looked around the theater, armrests were being held tightly, veins in necks pulsing.

The audience, myself included, could not be taken away from the screen. In Lone Survivor the character connections drew the viewers in closer and closer to the situations, deeper and deeper into the story. As the fighting went on, we hoped, prayed, and cried, knowing what was coming next, wishing we could change it. The emotional connections, and the overall feeling in the theater was astonishing. There were no cellphones or side conversations during this movie.

   The cinematography in Lone Survivor is amazing.

The different angles used made the viewers feel as if they were there. The audience would be seeing through the scope, standing down hill from a soldier watching as he takes position, sometimes seeing from the enemies point of view, and feeling as if they

were part of the conversations happening on screen.

At times the cinematography could be compared to a hummingbird. Fast always moving, but beautiful and perfect in all the right ways, making an even bigger impact on the viewers.

    As if the cinematography and emotional connection in this film wasn’t enough, the filming location in Mexico was breathtaking, making this film just about perfect. But there is one problem, the producers have stepped into a legal problem with the land. With a land dispute dating back to the mid-19th century, a man named Patrick Elwell has stepped forward to say that his property was used without authorization to shoot, but the producers paid $35,000 to use the land for filming. To learn more, visit The Hollywood Reporter.

    According to Rotten Tomatoes, Lone Survivor earned itself $93.9 million in the box office, and 6.6 out of 10 stars with the critics. With the audience, this film earned 4.3 out of 5 stars.

    “Berg reconstructs the gunfight brilliantly. Superb stunts, a dizzying use of handheld cameras, great editing and brilliant acting combine to make this the most intense war movie since Black Hawk Down.” said Andy Lea from The Daily Star.

“If I had to pick just one of the recent movies to be my favorite, I’d pick Lone Survivor,” said Mountain Home High School senior Chris Parkhill, “It deserves and award.”

    Lone Survivor is an astounding account of what happens outside of America that we should know about. This film shows blood without showing too much, just enough to get the point across. The mix of emotions, cinematography, location, and the fact that the film is based on true events makes it just about perfect. As I sat in the theater, I couldn’t help but cry, be stress and tense. This movie took my outlook, and put it into perspective. A movie like this, it’s hard not to talk about it all the time. Lone Survivor is a must see movie, if given the opportunity go see it, but be ready for some intense emotions. In my book, Lone Survivor earned itself 9 out of 10 stars. Make sure to stay through the credits, directly after the movie ends you will see pictures and videos of the four soldiers and more.

 

See you at the movies!

-Marion

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an action adventure, drama, and mystery all in one. This film is placed in New York City and Moscow. This movie starts out with Jack, played by Chris Pine, witnessing the 9/11 terrorist attack while at college in London School of Economics. Devastated, he enlists in the army and the next time viewers see Jack, he’s in Afghanistan. After an attack he his rushed back to the U.S. and recruited to work for the CIA as an analyst in the Financial Intelligence Unit. When he discovers a Russian plot to throw the economy, he must switch from an analyst to a government spy. Other main stars include Keira Knightly as Cathy Muller, Kevin Costner as William Harper, Petter Andersson as Dimitri Lemkov, and Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin.

    This film was easy to follow, seeing the emotions Jack went through as the story progresses. From seeing him love Cathy, long time girlfriend and physical therapist. To seeing him panic, and let his instincts in the driver’s seat in life threatening situations. Such as when Jack arrives in Russia and is given his own personal bodyguard, named Embee Deng, played by Nonso Anozie. When Jack and Embee arrive at the hotel and into the room, Embee tries to kill Jack. This scene is a good example not only of good flow in the film, but also of the character development.

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has a good way of keeping you interested from trying to solve the mystery of what’s going to happen, who’s in control, to sitting by and watching the action play out in fight scenes, to hoping Jack and Cathy’s relationship will stay together with everything. Throughout the movie I was glued to my seat not wanting to miss a single clue that could help solve the mystery of how the movie was going to play out.

    According to Rotten Tomatoes, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit earned itself $30.5 million in the box office, and 5.7 out of 10 stars with the critics. With the audience this film scored 3.5 out of 5 stars.

    “But then something interesting (and pretty rare) happens: the movie finds its feet, and unrolls as a pretty suspenseful, largely engaging, and hardly ever too-over-the-top spy thriller.” said Glenn Kenny from Rogerebert.com.

    “Too much of the action in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes place on laptops, thumb drives, and video monitors.” said Steaven Rea from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an action adventure drama and mystery all in one. Overall this film kept my attention, and had its intense moments. In my book Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit earned itself 6 out of 10 stars.

    “Maybe we should have recruited the audience,” said Chris Pine, “because all I see out there are shadows.” See more at MovieJuice!

 

See you at the movies!

-Marion

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an action adventure, comedy, and a drama all rolled into one film. This movie is about Walter Mitty, played by Ben Stiller, an employee of Life Magazine. He often trades the worries and troubles of daily life, for his own fantasy world, zoning out during work, and in everyday conversations. But when a photo is lost, Walter must decide, will he keep dreaming, or go out into the world. Other main stars include Kristen Wiig as Cheryl Melhoff, Patton Oswalt as Todd Maher an employee of eHarmony.com, and Sean Penn as Sean O’Connell.

   This film is a remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which came out 1947 starring Danny Kaye. In both films Stiller and Kaye work at a magazine, but the main difference is that in the 1947 version Mitty is forced into a marriage planned by his mother, instead of the current Mitty finding himself outside his comfort zone in an adventure.

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a family happy movie showing how people can change, all it takes is a little push. The morals in this film are phenomenal. Showing anyone can change their fate, family is important, standing up for one’s self can be hard but it’s the right choice, and beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

    According to Rotten Tomatoes The Secret Life of Walter Mitty earned $52.6 million in the box office, and 5.9 out of 10 stars. With the audience it earned 3.9 out of 5 stars.

    “Stiller’s attempt to braid together introspection and humor kept me engaged and curious, even when I wasn’t quite sure what he was setting out to do.” said Dana Stevens from The Slate.

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an action adventure, comedy, and a drama all rolled into one film. It bought a dreamer to the big screen, showing his journey and how his life changes. This film is a feel good movie that didn’t need intense fighting, sexual content, or profanity to prove its points. In my book, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty earned itself 7.5 out of 10.

 

See you at the movies!

~Marion

Frozen

    Frozen is a family comedy placed in an imaginary kingdom. This family movie starts introducing the viewers to younger versions of Anna, voiced by Livvy Stubenrauch, and young Elsa, voiced by Eva Bella. The two wake up late at night, and Elsa creates snow for them to play in. But when the snow goes horribly wrong, Elsa must hide her gift from everyone. We later see both Anna and Elsa as adults. Kristen Bell as adult Anna, and Idina Menzel as adult Elsa. Other main stars include Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, Josh Gad as Olaf the Snowman, and Santino Fontana as Hans.

    This new Disney movie brings back music back, the characters singing the songs, not just background music. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, and many others on the cast, not only voice the characters, but they also sing the musical numbers. With over seven musical numbers, I was leaving the theater humming. Disney brought back the element that was missing, the amazing music, showing the transformation in the characters.

    According to Entertainment Weekly, “The First Time in Forever” featuring Bell and Menzel, is the quality of “Part of your World” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The musical numbers don’t stop there, “Fixer Upper” is also similar to “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and The Beast. But what takes the cake is “Let it Go” performed by Menzel is amazing. From the rhythm, to a total change in the emotions. Disney did what it’s famous for with Frozen.

     To see Entertainment Weekly’s ranking of Frozen’s soundtrack, click here.

    According to Rotten Tomatoes, Frozen earned itself $19.6 million in the box office. This film earned itself 7.7 out of 10 stars with the critics, and 4.3 out of 5 stars with the audience.

    “Disney gets nearly everything right in this animated charmer: wit, warmth, a lovely voice cast and a real message of girl power.” said Rafer Guzman from Newsday.

    “Its gleaming dream world of snow and ice is one of the most visually captivating environments to be found in a Disney animated film.” said Stephen Holden from The New York Times.

    Frozen is an amazing Disney film. The characters were witty, the story line keeping you interested. But what really makes Frozen, is its breathtaking music. I am left singing “Let it go” and “The First Time in Forever” everywhere I go. As I sat in the theater, I had goosebumps, the vocals are just astounding. In my book Frozen earned itself 9 stars out of 10.

~Marion