Monday, November 19, 2012


  Warner Brothers Pictures

Argo By Georgia

     Argo was AMAZING! My mom and I saw it when I was "sick" (don't tell my teachers!) and it was definitely more educational than eight hours of school. I learned about the Middle Eastern crisis in 1980, when America stepped into Iran after they elected their first democratic leader. What's so wrong with that? The leader was giving Iran's oil back to the people and America and Russia wouldn't have that, so they stormed into Iran and gave the country a new leader. This, essentially, is what caused The Iran Hostage Crisis. But I'm sure you know about that. What America didn't know was that six diplomats escaped the American Embassy and were kept safe by Canada. The CIA decides to go in and rescue the six, and what follows is amazing!!! *WARNING: THIS MOVIE IS ALSO VERY STRESSFUL AND SLIGHTLY SCARY. THOSE WHO TEND TO SCREAM OR FAINT HAVE BEEN WARNED!*
     Eventually Ben Affleck's character figures out how to get the six out: by making a fake movie and "scoping out" Iran for their movie. This is when Alan Arkin and John Goodman come in: as the producer and make-up artist of the fake, CIA-sponsored sci-fi movie. So, yes, this movie has funny parts, but it is also really, really stressful. The movie has a few short scenes reenacting The Hostage Crisis that are very, very, heart-pounding-out-of-your-chest-gripping-your-mom-like-you're-in-labor scary. SO GO SEE IT. NOW!!!

 Argo by Amy 

Ben Affleck--welcome to the great directors club.  

In Argo, Mr. Affleck both directs and stars in an inspired by real events story as the undercover CIA operative who successfully extracted five American embassy employees in Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis.  I was eight years old when revolutionary forces invaded the American Embassy in Tehran, taking all of its employees hostage, minus the five the movie focuses on who escaped undetected that day in November 1979 only to get "stuck" hiding out, sometimes literally underground, at the Canadian Ambassador's home in Tehran.

Affleck does a brilliant job splicing real news footage with film footage to the point where the viewer sometimes can not distinguish between the two.  Even though we know going in that a happy ending is pending, it shows Affleck's directing chops that you are literally in a high state of thrilling stress for almost the entire ride of the movie.  

Alan Arkin and John Goodman provide superb comic relief as the shell "production company" executives Ben Affleck's Antonio Mendez character needs to round out his extraction ruse of scouting locations in Iran for an upcoming science fiction film.  2012 appears to be shaping up as Goodman's comeback year with this solid performance and his scene-stealing role in "Flight" with Denzel Washington.  Personally, I've been a fan since his "Roseanne" days on television.

Georgia and I saw this in a packed multi-plex and almost all of the audience stayed until the very last credit rolled to watch the series of real news footage about the Iran Hostage scroll byThe strongest feeling that lingered with me after viewing Argo was, here we are, over thirty years post-Iranian Hostage Crisis, and the entire Middle East, not to mention Iran's continuing political threat in the region with its covetous nuclear ambitions, appears to be on the verge of tearing itself apart.

Argo offers us a sober and timely reminder of the way "revolution" can unfold and an uplifting story of the enduring truth that sometimes, one person, can make a difference.




Summit Entertainment

Breaking Dawn Part 2 by Georgia

      "OH YEAH! TEAM JACOB!" Is an example of what I did not scream as soon as Taylor Lautner, AKA Jacob Black, went on screen. However, my mom did yell "eight minutes!" when Taylor Lautner took his shirt off, about eight minutes into the film. We also laughed a lot. But this isn't a feel-good family movie--this is the FINALE of the beloved (and hated) film series: Twilight. 
      I admit it: I did read the books as the series was coming off its pedestal (to be replaced by the Hunger Games) and I sort of understand why people (teenage girls/moms) like it (*cough cough romance.*) Sure, there's romance. Edwards a vampire. But the writing...*twitching in agony* and the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT....
     But I'm not here to talk about the books, which Stephanie Meyer is making millions off of. I'm going to discuss the highly-publicized movie with "a twist ending,"  as advertised in the trailer. How can they possibly create a "twist ending" if you've read the books??? I ranted repeatedly to my mother. If they changed the ending even a little bit, a bunch of vicious Twihards would murder everyone who had anything to do with the movie. Well, I won't tell you the twist ending, but there's nothing to fear, Twihards. There's the magical vampire sex you guys have been waiting for; Jacob's creepy protective-pedophile love over Renesmee. Oh yeah there's Renesmee, too--Bella's fast growing human/vampire daughter. The best, least inappropriate, sort of sweet scenes are the ones with Bella and Renesmee. She's definitely got the maternal thing down.
    Yes...the movie still has a cheesy special effects, lines, and acting, but who cares, right? Let's give Mrs. Meyers another billion so she can have a house in Italy, and Billy Joe Armstrong needs his fence painted, apparently, because he wrote AND SUNG one of the songs in the credits! And I totally called it in the credits! I said: "Mom! That Billy Joe Armstrong! That's Greenday!" Mom: "No! It can't be!" FIVE MINUTES OF CREDITS LATER...Me: "It is! Ha! I called it!" Listen to it, I beg of you: (Greenday's Twilight Song
      In the end, see this movie if you want a good laugh or if you actually enjoy these movies or if you have nothing else to see.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 by Amy 

During a film, I am always the shusher.  If you break out your cellphone to check an email or a text during my few minutes of total abandonment of all responsibility other than watching a movie, you will hear me ask you, politely, to please turn off your phone as it's distracting.

At Breaking Dawn Part 2, which my darling Georgia dragged me to see, I became the "shushed."

I did not come to the film with an open mind.  I came to it with a closed mind, an annoyed mind that so many had found the poorly written Twilight books compelling reading, and, in complete disclosure, a jealous mind--why can't millions of people like my own book, huh???  I know, I don't have a weird love triangle, or vampires, or wolves.

I am not a fan of vampire movies.  The last one I saw was Interview with a Vampire and that had Tom Cruise (before he was abducted in to Scientology) and Brad Pitt (before he grew facial hair).

But here is what I found interesting about this final installment--Bella, at last, does things besides look mopey and wait for her two boy toys to save the day.  She is rather kick-ass in all her newborn vampire strength, though I could have done without the "I must feed off the blood of any animal I can find" scenes.

From a parental standpoint, I questioned the PG-13 rating.  As Georgia mentions above, there are several scenes of vampire sex.  Bella & Edward are having lots of it.  They can't get enough of it.  Am I just getting to be an old fart longing for the PG movies of John Hughes with their long, drawn out kisses and smoldering sexuality?

When we got to the epic battle scenes between the Cullen clan and all the cute wolves against the Volturi, I admit I was gripped.  It was great film-making.  Tension-filled.  Both Georgia and I were freaking out.  

And then came the much touted "twist ending" which should have been called "The twist ending that they chicken out of at the last minute which results in the most over-used trite ending."

When I expressed my outraged opinion about the ending-within-an ending vocally in the theater, I got shushed.  I marred the viewing experience for some middle-aged Twihard.

And for that, I'm sorry.

But I'm sorrier still that I caved to my teenager and spent $16 to see the damn thing.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pitch Perfect--RUN do not walk to the movie theater

We took our whole gang to see Pitch Perfect-a movie about dueling acappella collegiate groups--over its opening weekend.  Here's the official polling:

Gracie, 9--thumbs up
Gia, 5--double thumbs up, plus toes up
Georgia, 13--double thumbs up, plus toes up
Wendy, 51--double thumbs up
Amy, 41--triple thumbs up, plus toes up, plus everything else

Top 10 Reasons Why Georgia & Amy Think You Need to See Pitch Perfect

10.  The Breakfast Club is making a come back.

9.  The screenplay appears to have been written by intelligent, funny human beings who were not consuming large amounts of Red Bull or beer while writing it.

  8.   Lead female character is a tech whiz.  Can anyone recall the last time we saw a female lead with that background?  She makes music magic happen from her laptop.

  7.   It's like the first season of Glee except set in college.  And with Rebel Winston.  Is the plot terribly original?  No.  Do you care?  No. Is the singing good?  No.  It's AWESOME.  Who knew Anna Kendrick, the lead, used to sing on Broadway?  I had only seen her in her great performance with George Clooney in Up In The Air.

  6. Almost all the characters are girls. And they're funny. *gasps*

  5.  Rebel Winston.  It's as if Lucille Ball, Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Gilda Radner had a baby together.

  4. Did we mention Rebel Winston?

  3. There's a sort-of-mean-girl but she's not catty. *more gasps* She's just controlling! Yay!

  2. This movie is for ANYONE who likes ANY kind of comedy--sarcastic comedy, American comedy, Australian comedy, The Hangover-esque comedy (yes, there's a specific category for those people,) etc.

  1.  If you want to spend one hundred and twelve minutes with unique, funny characters saying hilarious things with good music pumping in the background, Pitch Perfect is the aca-antidote to everything else in the movie theaters right now.

Georgia's Reasoning

Okay, for anyone who knows me, they know I'm sorta geeky. For those who don't, you know now. Here's my geeky calculations: IF THIS MOVIE IS NUMBER ONE (OR TWO OR THREE,) AMERICANS WILL HAVE TO REALIZE THAT WOMEN CAN ACTUALLY BE FUNNY!!!! IT'S MIND-BOTTLING! (That's not a spelling error--if you've seen Blades of Glory you'd understand.) Anyways, AMERICA WILL ALSO HAVE TO REALIZE YOU CAN BE CHUBBY, SKINNY, BLONDE, BLACK, LATINA, AND STILL BE FUNNY! THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR FACE LOOKS LIKE--IT'S THE WORDS COMING FROM IT THAT MATTER. I'm pretty sure that's a quote from an eighties movie. Maybe. Probably not.
So support the movement! Go tell everyone you know about Pitch Perfect and send them RUNNING--not walking--TO THEIR NEAREST MOVIE THEATER.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman


Snow White & the Huntsman by Georgia

    VICTORY TO QUEEN STEWART! I love, love, loved Snow White and the Huntsman!!! It was dark, but beautiful and powerful at the same time. In this movie, Snow White has been locked up by the evil queen (Charlize Theron, who deserves an Oscar for this role!) because of her fairness and beauty. But she escapes and befriends the drunken Huntsman who was sent to capture her.

 But enough about the storyline, here's what I think: go see it. If you are over eleven years old, go see it. There's a great heroine (who just happens to be the awesome and beautiful Kristen Stewart!) for teenage girls (and boys,) there's Chris Hemsworth (Thor) for any Hemsworth fans, there's violence for the action movie lovers, and there's a bit of romance. A BIT, mind you. This ain't Twilight.
Before I end my post, I'd like to say a brief rant: I AM SO ANGRY AT ALL THE STUPID MALE CRITICS WHO HATED THIS MOVIE!!!!!!! Not all the male critics hated it, but most did. They thought it had way too much "overacting" and that Stewart wasn't "right" for the role of the kick-butt heroine with a pure side. REALLY? Was it the fact that she actually had CLOTHES ON or that you don't think she's PRETTY enough for the role??? Is it hard to see a fully-clothed girl actually doing something?  Well, welcome to the 21st Century! Cough, cough, Katniss!! Anyways, the movie was great, no matter what the stupid critics say. GO SEE IT!!!!


I feel like I had been waiting my whole life to see this movie. 

Pause for reflection--I grew up in libraries.  Mostly old Oklahoma libraries, filled with musty books and crisp, new books and paintings you could check out to hang on your walls at home for two weeks, which my mother did.  It was on the shelves of the Lawton Public Library that I discovered Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory when I was ten.  The original King Arthur story captivated me.  I had been a big fan of the Wizard of Oz books and the Arthur legend blew my young mind-the drama of the knights’ escapades, the beauty of the women, the lavish banquets, the scope of it all.  I then read every variation on it I could find and eventually, years later, found the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  This was the re-telling of the Arthur story from the perspective of the women and it was as if I had found a new universe hidden within a treasured tale, a universe dominated by strong women.

This brings us to the movies.  In the 1970s and 1980s, women could play superheroes on TV. Wonder Woman was one of my favorites.  As was the Bionic Woman.  I had the action figure doll for both.  My collection also included Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.  It was made of clear plastic so it was sort of invisible.  Here’s the rub though—none of the films at the movie theater of my childhood featured female superhero leads.  And now that I’ve crested the hill of forty with three daughters coming up behind me, we’re still waiting for a female superhero to carry a movie.

Screw superheroes.

Who needs them in 2012 when the gods of cinema have given us Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games and Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron as good/evil Queens in Snow White and the Huntsman?  


 I hereby declare 2012 the Year of the Powerful-Yet Empathetic-Strong-Yet Kind-Kick Ass Leader Girl. In Snow White and the Huntsman, Universal Studios gives us a princess to love.  The new and improved Snow White is the type of  princess we wouldn't mind our daughters growing up to be.  

Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is the strong, silent type.  I’ve read reviews of this movie in major national papers and saw an interesting trend.  The majority of male reviewers, though not all, complain about Stewart. One didn't think she was “pretty enough” next to Charlize Theron.  Many said she was "ill-suited" for the role.  And my response is, I think they would have liked Stewart better if she wore a push-up bra and showed a little cleavage instead of being costumed in modest outfits best suited for, you know, traipsing through the forest and sword fighting.   What was that three-time Oscar-winner Collen Atwood costume designer thinking?

Stewart is a new kind of Snow White.  She is a slight girl with expressive eyes and at first glance seems an unlikely choice to take back a kingdom from the likes of the powerful evil Queen.  Her appearance reminds me--in their shared "delicate" appearance-- of freed Burmese/Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi , who like Snow, is the only daughter of a king--in Ms. Kyi's case her father was the "King" of modern Burma.  Though small in stature, Aung San Suu Kyi has inspired a nation to rise up against oppression and won a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.

Stewart works because we’re intrigued by how this fragile-looking young woman will face the awesome task in front of her.  She’s the literal underdog, half a foot shorter than model-height Theron.  Sheer force alone will not be the way Snow wins.  It’s not possible.

Conceived in love by her Queen and King parents, the scenes of Snow as a young child show her nascent leadership abilities and how her childhood best friend William, the Duke’s son, is clearly besotted with her.  When Snow’s life slips in to tragedy after both parents die and the evil Ravenna—played brilliantly by Charlize Theron—locks her in the tower for years on end, one understands that basic chit-chat is not something Snow does. 

When Snow escapes and the chase storyline kicks in, Stewart convincingly undergoes a 
metamorphosis from terrified young girl to a composed leader ready to wrest her father’s kingdom back from the darkness that has fallen across it during Ravenna’s reign.  The movie pulls pieces of the original Disney film into its elaborate, innovative, visually dazzling whirl.

The scene where Stewart goes toe to ugly toe with a giant troll is one of my favorites.  She hollers back at him just as he is hollering at her and stares him down with an openness in her eyes that lets him know she sees him, really sees him, and perhaps understands whatever misery he’s endured that has landed him the unfortunate job of consumer of bridge crossers.

Romance is secondary in the film.  Snow is loved by the Duke’s son William who does all he can to rescue her and fight with her but, as Georgia said to me, the movie is not called “Snow White and The Duke’s Son.”  Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” plays the huntsman hired by Ravenna to bring back Snow so the Evil Queen can remove her young heart.  And then eat it for a light snack because that how Ravenna rolls.

The scene where the Huntsman finds Snow in the Dark Forest and they see each other for the first time is handled well by both Hemsworth and Stewart.  He is shocked to find such a young girl as his prey and she is unsure of his intentions.  But there is something that runs between them in that instant which, I hope, we’ll see explored in more depth in the sequel.

The Huntsman then switches sides and becomes part of the swelling ranks of those supporting Snow in her bid to take back the kingdom.  The beach scenes where her army is descending upon the castle are stunning-- banners flying, horses’ hooves kicking up the surf, Kristen Stewart on a white horse in full chain mail transformed in to a purposeful Joan of Arc.   It has been years since we’ve seen a sweeping, saga kind of movie done on this scale with real, animate objects versus special effects.  Though the movie uses plenty of those as well.

And now, for the Queen. 

Charlize Theron accomplishes the mighty task of embodying pure evil and 
darkness in one beautiful package while also giving us insight in to the cruelties she endured as a young child that led her own mother to slice her hand, put drops of her blood into a bowl of milk and force Ravenna to drink it while placing a spell on her that her beauty would protect her, it would be her power over men, including the men pillaging her home village and taking away her mother. 

On their wedding night, Snow’s father is on top of Ravenna in bed and says, “You will be the ruin of me, Ravenna,” with a smile on his face, bewitched by her beauty and thrilled to have her as his own.  Her response is chilling, “Another king ruined me a long time ago.”  The implication being she has endured rape, most likely, and the loss of her mother during another King’s war.

There are layers to this story that speak to our modern day wars, to the travesties committed against women and children, particularly girls, in the name of religion, natural resources, or ancestral lands.  What does it say about our current culture that the plight of women and girls in parts of the world, indeed even within the borders of our own country, is no better than what the young Ravenna endured?

And so I understood Ravenna’s rage and how the evil committed against her turned and twisted her own psyche.  But I didn’t like her and spent many of the scenes detailing her ghastly beauty and eating habits with my head turned away from the screen, as did Georgia.  

 In the ultimate scene between Ravenna and Snow, Stewart communicates that she understands what Ravenna endured, that their initial situations-orphaned girls displaced by war—were the same. But how they responded to the evils done against them is the difference.

Snow is, in the end,  a warrior.  She understands herself to be the rightful ruler of her kingdom.  And so she does what warriors do.

This movie is not for the under twelve set.  It is dark, explicitly violent in certain scenes and disturbing. But for young adults and grownups, it could be one of the most gorgeous, inventive, thrilling movies you see this year. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games!!!!!!!

The Hunger Games by Georgia

  Ohmygodohmygodohmgod (*hyperventilating!*)  I AM IN SHOCK RIGHT NOW, AND IT IS NOT JUST BECAUSE OF JOSH HUTCHERSON'S HOTNESS. The Hunger Games was EPIC! I've read all the books a billion times and this was so true to it!
  Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress. Seriously. She is now my official role model!! In one scene in the movie, her hands were literally shaking in pain. She's that good. Josh Hutcherson was really good, too, but he didn't top Jennifer.
  To get this over with, I'll say the mess-ups first (have no fear, there's not many.) Okay, first of all, Haymitch wasn't the drunk pervert he was in the book. They made him look all nice and secure. Haymitch is freaking messed up, people! Also, it completely left out the part when *spoiler alert* Peeta's leg gets amputated and he gets a prosthetic leg. But I can kind of understand why they cut that.And...wait a minute...I can't rant. Something isn't right...I can't rant abut this movie! This is a good sign! Hooray! (That is amazing, considering I can rant about pretty much anything and everything.)
  Overall, the movie was a bunch of epicness. PURE. EPICNESS. If you haven't read the book, read it, and then see the movie. It's not like you can't understand the movie without reading the book, but you should read the book. (And, if you were wondering, I am telling you nothing about the storyline for a reason: read the book. Watch the trailer. I'm just here to tell you how AWESOME it was.) And it was awesome. See "The Hunger Games" today. Seriously. Go. Now. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

The Hunger Games by Amy

May I just say how grateful I am as a mother to Suzanne Collins for giving my daughters someone in popular culture besides Bella Swan of Twilightdom?  I'm going to start this review with my experience as a reader.  Due to Georgia's obsessive love of the Hunger Games series and her months of joyful anticipation in the lead-up to the movie version, I was brought kicking and screaming to the book The Hunger Games. 

Seriously--what parent wants to read a book about kids having to kill each other for sport?  Not this parent.  No, sir.  Thank you very much.  But Georgia said I "had to read the book before the movie comes out" so I bowed to my daughter's will and last summer I read the first book in the series out loud with Georgia.

 From a reading perspective, I credit the author with creating memorable characters and putting them in ridiculously compelling situations that leave the reader with no choice but to keep turning the pages.  Bravo, Ms. Collins.  I would give a lot to have one-tenth of the impact this story has had on its readers. 

What I found problematic about the book was primarily lazy writing--I would frequently edit the lines as I read them, to the dismay and annoyance of Georgia--and the violence which is such a central part of the story.  And there is  a lot of violence.  I also found Katniss's ignorance of her potential suitor Peeta's feelings unbelievable in the book.  The girl is smart and intuitive, not clueless as Collins's portray hers in matters of the heart.

Okay--so THE MOVIE.  First off, I viewed it on an IMAX screen.  In my opinion, if you're going to see an action movie like this, you might as well fork over the bucks and see it on an epic screen.  I can count on one hand the number of book to film adaptations that have surpassed the book's vision.  The Hunger Games is one of those.

The script is clean and free of some of the lazy writing that annoyed me in the book, though there are a a couple of scenes where the screenwriting crew--which included the author--gave up too easily.  I am thrilled to say however that "You got this" is no where in the movie.  Thank you.  I would like to petition that the expression be banned from all future films, tv shows, and the mouths of humans everywhere. 

Jennifer Lawerence IS Katniss.  From the first shot, she embodies the character.  She is comforting her little sister Primrose who has had a bad dream--a very bad dream that will come true the next day--and Lawerence manages to exude compassionate, kind, loving strength in one deft swoop. Lawerence is able to express a range of emotions on her face without being obvious about it.  Instead,  the viewer feel as if she is observing a real reaction to a series of unbelievably awful events. 

There is a quietness to Katniss--she does not like to talk.  She is  a doer.  And it's wonderful to see the interaction between Lawerence and her primary love interest Peeta, played by the talented and adorable Josh Hutcherson (see Georgia's gushing above).  Peeta is a talker, he chatters on about all sorts of things and Katniss merely observes, calculating the unknown of the Capitol when they journey there for the Hunger Games.  It is a refreshing turn to see the boy being the chatty Cathy and the girl being the stoic.

The actors make this movie--Stanley Tucci as the Ryan Seacrest of the Games, Elizabeth Banks as the strange and perky District 12 hostess, Woody Harrelson as the alcoholic with a heart of gold District 12 mentor.   The landscapes of the poor districts are suitably bleak and shot on location in North Carolina.  The landscape of the Capitol provides a futuristic take--citizens here are rich and well cared for by the government--they wear bright colors and dye their dogs an eye-popping pink.  Their strangely clad masses cheering and chanting on the eve of the games is disturbing, they can't wait for the bloodbath to begin.

The movie makes the political realities of this dystopian future more real than the book.  The thumb of the oppressive government is expressed through Donald Sutherland's character President Snow.  I suppose this is an unfair comparison for the book given the range of Mr. Sutherland's abilities to look crazy and inhumane while pruning roses.

The violence is intense and I had to look away several times during the battles within "the arena," though it does feel more restrained than it did in the book and if the restraint was only caused by the filmmakers desire for a PG-13 rating than I say hooray for PG-13. 

The Hunger Games feels revolutionary.  It is a cultural moment.  Boys, girls, men, & women are filling the theaters and talking about the movie afterwards.  I have not read the next two books in the series and won't be.  According to Georgia, the violence increases and Katniss's character loses her sense of self.

I think I'll also call it a day with film number one.  A film where a young female lead triumphs over adversity, saves her family and sparks a political revolution all while fully clothed?  That's my kind of movie. 

P.S. Georgia did not share her biggest disappointment with the movie-there was no shirtless scene involving Mr. Hutcherson.  Perhaps Catching Fire?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Georgia
  Yep, I saw Journey 2--and not just because Josh Hutcherson was in it! Okay, a little--but mostly because I saw Journey 1 and thought it was really good. The second one was almost as good as the first one, the only flaws being that Vanessa Hudgens' tank top took a little roller coaster ride throughout the movie (by roller coaster ride, I mean that it just got lower and higher on her chest and hips--which were exposed A LOT. Not the whole chest, FYI.) 
  So here's the story--Sean is back and he broke into a satellite facility to get a message about the Mysterious Island from his grandfather. Magically, his step-father was in the navy and can read code. They figure out the coordinates--with several references to three island books--and go to an island near there. On this island, they get a ride from Gabato--a foolish and slightly offensive (not the actual character, but how he was portrayed) Hispanic man and his "beautiful" daughter, Kailani (Hudgens.) Of course, there's a dramatic minute scene where Kailani steps into view and Sean (Hutcherson) gawks dramatically--that was another small flaw and cliché. Anyway, Gabato has a run-down helicopter that they get on and they go off to the island! What happens next? Go see the movie!!

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Amy
  Any movie with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has got to be entertaining, right?  Sort of.  The highlight of the film for me was seeing him do the "Pec-Pop of Love," which you can see for free in the movie trailers.  Just FYI.  My 5 year old can do a pretty decent imitation.  Ditto FYI.

Let's be serious about why Georgia wanted to see this movie.  She bugged me, in fact, until I took her.  It wasn't The Rock.  It was Josh Hutcherson.  She admitted as much in her review.  And he is a cutie.  He comes across as intelligent and rebellious and beefcakey all at the same time.  Unlike some actors formerly known as werewolves, who missed the intelligent part. 

My main beef with the film is the ridiculous costuming of the lone female character-whose primary function is to hang around looking annoyed.  Georgia mentions this above so I won't belabor the skimpiness of Vanessa Hudgens's outfit.  But I will mention that the clearly male camera crew, director, and film editors must have felt that Vanessa had a really nice backside because there is a full-on shot of it as she is extracting herself from a cave.  And it's not a glancing shot--they hold the shot long enough for you to really try and appreciate her butt.  Why they felt this was an interesting camera angle for the audience is one of the great unsolved film mysteries destined never to be solved.  We wouldn't want to actually look at her face as she's trying to heave ho out of the cave, right?  

Wait for the DVD on this one, folks.  Trust me.  Unless you have a teenage daughter.  Then let her go by herself and you can see The Artist. 

My Name is Mina by David Almond

My Name is Mina by David Almond (Reviewed by Georgia)
  I know I've been ranting a lot lately, so here's a happy, non-critical--really, no criticism, I swear--review of My Name is Mina. Mina is a ten or eleven year old girl who has a wonderful view of the world--she loves birds and she's home schooled, so she has lots of free time to admire the sky (and birds.) She loves to write silly little poems and she loves word play. If you had a daughter, you would want her to be like Mina. Though Almond implies that Mina might have a learning disability, I interpreted she just didn't like school. Her journal--written in "her" handwriting"--is full of "extraordinary activities" where she suggests simply looking at the night sky a certain way or writing one word one page. There is a story, too, not just activities, so don't worry. My Name is Mina is actually a prequel to Skellig, which was published a long time ago. I tried to read Skellig, but it was depressing and creepy. Just read My Name is Mina. It's really good.