Since American Sniper was a big hit, MGM is hoping you’ll fall for another American Hero, Max. I’m giving the movie, Max a B. Max is about a specially trained dog who served in Afghanistan and who was sent back to the USA after his handler is killed. The dog suffers from PTSD and is struggling with the loss of his best friend. It’s up to his handler’s family—specifically their distant teenage son—to help Max heal.
Max is subtle in its patriotic message. The movie is more about family and learning to rely on each other. Justin Wincott turned sullen when his brother joined the military. Josh Wiggins does a great job as the angry teen. The scowls on his face could stop an armored vehicle. Dealing with an indignant teen is something most parents can relate to. Handling Max, the dog, is much the same. These two are meant for each other.
Seriously though, I was nervous about seeing a movie made by the people who did Marley and Me. We know how that movie ended. I was prepared for tears and certainly, there were some. So bring tissues but also be ready for on the edge of your seat excitement. From kidnapping, gun running, and a wild fight/chase scene…you will need to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
There were some definite flaws in the script. At one point, the kids were in the river with a cell phone in one of their pockets. Then about 5 minutes later, it magically rings…but the kids never think to use the phone to call for help. In fact, during the whole movie…they take the problems on themselves rather than get help from the people who could really help them. Hello…dealing with Mexican drug cartels is not something teenagers should do alone.
But if you are looking for a movie that will appeal to the whole family? Max will do it! And then be sure to visit the Michigan War Dog Memorial in Lyon Township. They recently held an internment for two special service dogs. Since dogs have been in use in the military since World War 1, they deserve a memorial to remember all that they gave (including their lives) in the name of honor and patriotism. The movie, Max will galvanize your heart.
What is it about genius talent that leads to mental instability or is it the other way around? Does mental instability lead to genius talent? Love and Mercy explores this as a biopic of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. I give this movie a B.
This movie won’t appeal to everyone. There were only eight of us watching the movie and all of us were of a certain age. In fact, one woman asked her husband if she remembered the event on the screen…they had lived it. Certainly, Love and Mercy is a movie for fans of the Beach Boys and their music. Although there isn’t enough of the music in the movie (according to my husband), it does give a wonderful glimpse of Brian’s genius with creating new sounds, songs and lyrics.
I found this movie very disturbing. It hurt to watch it. John Cusack does an amazing job as the mature Wilson under the care of Dr. Eugene Landy. Cusack will get some Oscar mentions for his work. His hands twitch and the anxiety was palpable during his performance.
Paul Dano as the younger Wilson was just as memorable. His slippage into mental instability was difficult to watch, but it was the performance of Paul Giamatti as Dr. Landy that made my skin crawl. I felt like I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds with him as a serial killer gone amuck.
Elizabeth Banks rounds out the cast as the woman who won’t let Wilson slip away. Banks is everywhere these days from real estate commercials to Pitch Perfect 2, but as Melinda Ledbetter, Wilson’s savior, there’s no comedy in her performance. I did love the 80’s clothes and hairstyles! In fact, some of them I owned.
While Love and Mercy won’t beat out any rampaging dinosaurs, it’s a movie that is well directed, has an amazing cast, and is sure to garner many wonderful reviews. Yet, at places it is too disturbing to watch and will have you leaving depressed. While Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys wrote and sang songs about fun in the summer sun, their lives were anything but a party.
Twenty-two years after Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is a fully operational amusement park complete with new species of dinosaurs. While one child screamed out after the movie that it was the best movie ever, I give Jurassic World an A-.
Dr. Wu is the only original character from the first movie. He’s been playing God again by splicing DNA of dinosaurs with other animals, creating a brand new and very dangerous dinosaur. I had a hard time looking at Wu and not seeing Law and Order:SVU. All we needed was Stabler and Benson!
I did enjoy the nods to the original movie. It tied it together and made me want to revisit the first movie, even some of the dinosaurs are the same! Speaking of dinosaurs, they are bigger and badder in Jurassic World. Just a sidebar…when fishing for Jurassic fish, use bigger bait than a worm and keep your fingers closed. I also liked how they redeemed the Raptors in this movie. They’ve learned how to hunt as a pack with Chris Pratt’s character as they leader. He has them clicker trained! Now if he could put them on a leash and walk them…he might have a new type of dog. Chris Pratt is channeling Indiana Jones as he gets ready to portray Indy.
At some point, the movie felt like a Disney TV show with the children doing what they want, the adults as complete idiots and no recourse for silly choices. After all, the kids escaped from the assistant watching them, didn’t come back when ordered to and were sarcastic. Claire, the boys’ aunt and manager of Jurassic World, spends the whole movie in heels and a white dress as she tries to save the visitors and her nephews.
With the violence, this movie isn’t appropriate for younger children, yet is a must for fans of the original series. And it certainly leaves the door open for another sequel!
If you are looking for a laugh out loud movie with no deep meaning, Spy is a perfect fun movie. I’m giving it a B.
From the very beginning, Spy pokes fun at the James Bond franchise with a copycat opening and bumbling undercover agent in a dark tux. When super-agent, Bradley Fine ends up killed and the whole agency is compromised, Fine’s assistant demands to go undercover to set things right. Melissa McCarthy has found a movie that fits her witty comedy without all the fat jokes and degradation.
Poor Susan Cooper is given the worst identities like a strange cat lady or the single mother of five children. Yet she’s got some depth to her and kick butt skills! Jason Statham steals the movie as a fellow CIA operative who goes rogue and throws a wrench into Susan’s best laid plans! It’s a wonder he’s still alive. He’s the type like your parents who tell the most outrageous tales of walking sixteen miles to school one way in a six food snowstorm carrying their desk.
Written and directed by the guy who directed Bridesmaids, Spy is perfect to kick off the end of the year school blues! This movie will keep you laughing from the opening credits through the final scene. It has surprises though and a whole lot of potty language. There were more f-bombs dropped in this two hour movie than 50 Cent’s song “Guess Who’s Back”. And speaking of 50…He appears to be following in Mike Tyson’s shoes showing up in this movie!
While the summer is defined by the big movie blockbusters, Spy is a fun escape from chasing dinosaurs and super heroes. Just make sure you go to the matinee. It’s not worth the full price ticket!
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