Sometimes Life is stranger than fiction.
Based on a real life person from Michigan, The Mule tells the tale of an elderly man who becomes a drug courier for the drug cartel. Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) has lost his wife (Dianne Wiest) and family due to his need to put work before them. The 90-year-old lily grower loses his house when the internet changes the nature of shopping. Earl takes a job as a driver, unknowing what he’s delivering and how his life will change.
Using the money to buy back his home and help his family, Earl tries to make up for the times he missed out when they were younger. Unable to change the past, Earl risks his life to spend the last week of his ex-wife’s life with her rather than meet his deadline. As the FBI seeks to stop the drug cartel, Earl shares his personal philosophy with the FBI agent in charge (Bradley Cooper) in a daring meeting.
Directed and produced by Eastwood and featuring two of his daughters, The Mule is a family affair. JHis daughter Allison plays Earl’s estranged daughter and Kimber works as the lead makeup artist. But the movie isn’t just about family and the importance of family…. The Mule reminds us to spend time with who is important, spreading kindness- even with a simple word or gesture.
With the screenplay written by Nick Schenk who also wrote Gran Torino, Eastwood returns to the big screen as another grumpy older man. In addition, Eastwood works again with Cooper (playing the FBI agent) who he worked with on American Sniper.
Clint’s acting in this movie feels less like acting and more like him being himself. But viewers won’t help but wonder if he is talking about his own mistakes as a father. Notorious for having numerous children with various women and not spending time with them, The Mule feels like an apology to those children. How ironic that we hear on the day of the movie’s release about the loss of Eastwood’s paramour- Sandra Locke who passed from complications from cancer. As I said…life is stranger than fiction.
Robin Hood is a classic tale, but this movie gives it a twist.
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) would like nothing more than to hang around his manor house with his girlfriend Marian (Eve Hewson) but when the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) needs money and soldiers, he sends Robin off to fight in the Crusades.
When Robin returns four years later, he’d lost everything…his manor, his money and Marian. But with the help of one of the Moors he’d been fighting (Jamie Foxx), Robin sets out to bring the Sheriff to his knees by taking the money away from the church and the Sheriff. And hopefully win back Marian from her husband, an up and coming politician who is trying to bring change to the mines and people of Nottingham.
Re-made to feel edgy, the action scenes in Robin Hood feel modern rather than historical. The crusades were fought like a SEAL mission against a Gatling gun shooting metal rods. They wore dessert colors and hid among the pillars to avoid the arrow-fire. Horses climbing stairs and racing across wooden catwalks will make you want to check that no animals were harmed. The clothes were out of place within the medieval time period. Machine stitched leather and high-heeled shoes. The movie felt more like a cross between Gladiator and Matrix. However, the action was exciting and kept me engaged, even though I had no personal interest in the lives of the characters.
The big twist came about at the end of the movie when you find out the whole tale is only the beginning…Robin in the forest with his Merry Men. A new sheriff is in town and he has every reason to hate Robin—he stole the sheriff’s wife.
Taron’s Robin was both charming and secretive as he cozied up to the Sheriff, earning a spot at the “big table”. Fresh off the Kingsman 2 movie, Taron was handpicked as the lead. The director even held up filming for him. Did the delay put Robin Hood out at a bad time? Or was it the remaking of a familiar tale that had it struggling at the box office (cost 100,000,000 to make and only earned 25,000,000).
The movie has over the top action but shows very little changes to the story which has been told over and over again. Much like last year’s King Arthur, Robin Hood leaves viewers reminiscing over the originals which were hard to beat.
Sometimes family is more than blood.
When a professional couple decides something is missing in their lives, they look into fostering and adoption. Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie Wagner (Rose Byrne) get in over their heads when they foster three siblings who were removed from their home when their mother went to jail. Lizzie (Isabela Moner), Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) bring more to their lives than the instant family they expected.
This funny movie shares the heartwarming moments as well as the frustrations of becoming a foster parent and adopting children. It’s a rollercoaster ride. The humor comes from the situation in addition to the comments of other foster parents in the group. The support-group scenes make me wish that every parent had somewhere to complain and receive validation. All parents (not just foster parents) could use someone who will be a shoulder to cry on or someone to give us a sarcastic come back to bring us back to Earth.
Mark Wahlberg’s character is very similar to his character from Daddy’s Home and I think some of the same comedic moments came from there but this is a very different movie. It was based off the real life events in Director and Screenwriter, Sean Ander’s foster and adoption tale of three young children. There are moments which will resonate with parents everywhere.
This movie has star power galore, besides Wahlberg and Byrne, it has Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Julie Haggerty (Airplane), Michael O’Keefe (Caddyshack) and Joan Cusack (Working Girl). Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro play two social workers at the foster care center. Many of the funniest moments involve their wisecracking comments.
While this movie is entertaining and filled with an important message about family, it doesn’t have to be seen on the big screen, but it could be a fun movie for a family Christmas time, especially if you have teens…it might lead to a wonderful family discussion. :)
It's all about the movies...