I broke two of my own rules when I saw The Peanuts Movie: no movies that are remakes, sequels, based on comic books or based on TV shows. Obviously Peanuts fits the last two.
I still watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and I still get a lump in my throat at the end of it. I almost felt obligated to see Peanuts!
It's not a great movie but it is very good. It's got a slow section in the middle when my mind wandered a bit, and then I felt guilty about it! The music, old and new, is wonderful and I might get the soundtrack.
We didn't see Peanuts in 3D (I hate 3D) but there are parts of the movie that look like it anyway. The one really weird part of the movie is the hair of some of the characters, which looked kind of thick and hard and greasy. I did not like Charlie's, Linus' or Lucy's hair. On the other hand, Snoopy's fur looked soft enough to touch and I wanted to pet him!
My mother wanted to see The Letters, about the life of Mother Teresa. I don't know who played Teresa. The only person in the movie whom you will recognize is Max Von Sydow, whose character was the recipient of her correspondence.
The movie starts out slowly but gets better. We learn about the difficulties she had both with the convent she initially joined and with the Vatican regarding her desire to start a convent of her own. We also learn about the difficulties she had with the local Hindu population in Calcutta in starting the convent and its hospice.
Although I thought The Letters was a good movie, I don't know how many would be interested in the subject matter beyond older Catholics.
I don't know why The 33 isn't doing better. I'm assuming that true-life rescue stories aren't as interesting as make-believe ones.
I think that The 33 might have been a better movie had it been done in Spanish with English subtitles, rather than having everyone speak English with a Chilean accent. Some of the conversation was hard to follow.
It's a good but not great movie. I never got moved to tears during the rescue scenes.
The only actors I recognized were Antonio Banderas and, of all people, James Brolin, who seems to be making a comeback to acting. The one detail I learned about the rescue was that the coal mine was actually in a barren mountain desert; truthfully, the landscape could have been Mars!
Brooklyn is easy to confuse with Carol. Both are dramas set in New York City in the 1950s. Brooklyn is about a young Irish woman, Aylish, who moves to a boardinghouse there. Her mother and sister remain behind in Ireland.
For a change, no one is dirt poor. The girl gets a job immediately at a department store and starts taking night classes. She also meets a young man of Italian descent, and they fall in love.
Aylish returns to Ireland for a family emergency.
That's basically the plot. It's a little slow-moving at times but otherwise pleasant. At the theater, it was mostly 40-plus women in the audience.
Like so many Oscar-nominated movies, Carol is long and dull with no likeable characters.
The story is set in the 1950s. An older lesbian seduces a younger woman. Meanwhile the ex-husband wants to have sole custody of the daughter he and the older woman have.
The two women take a road trip and the places they stay at both coming and going are hard to keep straight.
How did the ex-husband and the older woman's best friend know where they were staying if they didn't tell anyone where they were going? Remember, there were no cell phones and tracking equipment in the 1950s, and the women were always using pay phones.
The last three movies I've seen were all set in New York in the 1950s. Bridge of Spies, a Cold War movie, can be included in that list, even though much of it takes place in Berlin. Bridge is about the insurance lawyer (I never did figure out what insurance had to do with war prisoner exchanges) who negotiated the switch of a Russian man with Francis Gary Powers and an American student caught in East Berlin. It's a movie for grown-ups as it requires concentration and doesn't have any explosions or CGI. I liked the movie a lot.
In the Heart of the Sea is an old-fashioned true-life adventure story, about what happened to the crew of the Essex in 1820 after the ship sank in the Pacific far from the coast of South America.
I didn't realize that the novel Moby Dick had been loosely based this story until I saw the previews for this movie. In fact, the previews I saw last winter inspired me to read the novel.*
One of the complaints I've read about this movie is being able to keep all the characters straight. I didn't have a problem with that! Another complaint, which I think is legitimate, is that some of the historical details were inaccurate. Neither of these detract from the movie itself.
*I'm STILL reading Moby Dick. It's huge and is so detailed I've had to read some chapters twice to figure out what happened.
Concussion seems like the offspring of the CSI shows and Monday Night Football. That doesn't mean it's just an okay movie. It is in fact, excellent: thoughtful, well-written, a little tense in places, and, perhaps in spite of its subject matter, rather cerebral at times.
The coroner in Pittsburgh (Will Smith) is asked to do an autopsy on a former Steelers player who, at age 50, was a homeless, insane man who died of a heart attack. Dr. Omalu runs many tests and discovers the football player died of what is now called CTE, chronic traumatic encephaly. When a number of other retired pro football players all die in horrible ways (car accident, suicide, etc.), the physician discovers the pattern of brain injury.
The movie is more CSI than football games, with a number of autopsy scenes. In fact, Hill Harper, who had been in CSI: New York, is one of the actors in the movie.
I was quite impressed with this movie and highly recommend it.
I was so delighted by the movie Joy that I wanted to clap at the end of the movie. And, silly girl that I am, I called my mother when I got home because I wanted to recommend it to her. Joy is yet another movie in which the previews tell you nothing about the movie. In fact, the previews and the poster completely turned me off. I only became interested in the movie after I read the reviews and learned the plot.
The poster, with the picture of a woman looking skyward with sparkly things all around her, makes it look like another stilted Christian movie. The previews make it look like yet another dysfunctional family comedy with no likeable characters.
Fortunately, the movie is neither of these things. It's the story of Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop in the 1980s and, after being unable to find a store to distribute her product, instead sold thousands of them on one of the cable shopping channels. The film tells about how she came up with the idea, actually created the mop, and her battles with patents. Joy is more reminiscent of Tucker and Flash of Genius than it is of a hundred Lifetime movies.
The only problem is the last half hour of the movie. You think the story has ended, but there are still more situations to be taken care of. Luckily, Joy gets her final problems solved in a somewhat humorous and sneaky way.