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  • Monday Movie – Push

    Saturday night Amy and I were housesitting for a friend. We thought it’d be fun to get some pizza, rent a movie, and push-movie-posterkick back with our friend’s huge flat screen TV. So we hit the redbox and picked up Push, a sci fi flick about mutant-like people who have special abilities. These people are classified by their skills. Pushers can push thoughts into other people’s minds, making them believe things that aren’t true. Movers can … well, move things with their minds. Watchers see glimpses of the future. Bleeders scream really loudly and make everything in sound reach explode. And the classifications go on.

    Push centers around Nick, a second-generation mover, who isn’t actually very good at it. He gambles, throws dice, and still can’t manage to win, even though he’s supposed to be able to move the dice with his mind. Nick’s dad died 10 years before, and the last thing he said to his son was that when a girl with a flower asks for his help, he needs to help her.

    Said young woman shows up in the form of a teen Dakota Fanning (who knew the girl would actually grow up to be a pretty good actress?). She plays a 13-year-old watcher, who needs Nick’s help to save her mother, who is being held by the evil Division. The only way to get her mom (also a watcher) back is by stealing a drug that Division has been testing. The same drug that is killing everyone it is tried on.

    Sound conveluted? It is. Throw is extra watchers, bleeders, and pushers, and it begins to not make much sense at all.

    I love those movies that make me think, that don’t  make sense until the very end. Case in point, The Prestige. I love how that movie just messes with my mind. But at the end it’s wrapped up so nicely that it all makes sense. It’s unbelievable, yet every piece of it fits so perfectly together that I don’t have to spend hours wondering what piece of the puzzle I was missing.

    Push has an interesting premise, but the conclusion is so underwhelming that I just walked away feeling confused.

    Worse … about half way through the movie, I thought I had figured out how Nick and Dakota’s character were connected. I was so convinced that that was how it should be that when it turned out worse than my imagined ending, I was even more let down. *shaking head* Bad move on my part.

    So … I won’t be watching Push again, but that’s okay.

    Looking for good movies until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – Persuasion

    jane-austens-persuasionWhere have I been? As a card-carrying girly-girl, who has seen multiple versions of every other Jane Austen book-turned movie, how is it possible I’ve never seen Persuasion? There are a million versions to choose from, so why haven’t I ever picked one up?

    Well, I changed that this weekend, with a quick trip to the library, where I borrowed a newer version from the BBC. I think this version, staring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, was part of the PBS run of Jane Austen’s stories last year.

    So Katie and Stephanie and I sat down to enjoy this version on Saturday afternoon. It was overcast, and Katie and I had spent the morning shopping, so we were all feeling rather sleepy. We popped in the dvd, none of us knowing the story. I suggested we turn on the subtitles, because, let’s face it, British English isn’t anything like American English. But even with the subtitles, we all spent about the first 20 minutes not quite sure who was who and what was going on.

    Were Penelope and Mrs. Clay the same person? Who was Elizabeth and how was she related to Anne Elliot (our heroine)? And was Captain Wentworth as amazingly handsome as everyone kept saying?

    After several pauses and much discussion we discovered that in fact: Penelope and Mrs. Clay were indeed one in captain-wentworththe same … Elizabeth is Anne’s sister … and Captain Wentworth? Oh, he’s absolutely as handsome as everyone says!

    What a delightful story of the constancy of love. Eight years ago, Anne Elliot broke off her understanding (aka engagement) with Lt. Frederick Wentworth, a lowly naval man with no nobility in his family. Sir Walter Elliot, Anne’s father, believes Wentworth is unworthy, and Anne’s confidant and friend believes it’s unwise to be engaged to a man with no wealth, no position, and headed off to war (still slightly unclear what war it was that he was fighting in). So Anne was persuaded to end their understanding.

    Now the Elliot’s money is dwindling, and they must rent out their family home. Admiral and Mrs. Croft let the estate. But Mrs. Croft is also Wentworth’s sister. And Captain Wentworth, who received a promotion and made his fortune in the war, has come to visit.

    Anne still loves Wentworth, but struggles to keep her feelings to herself, as she thinks he has fallen for her brother-in-law’s sister. Confusion ensues as Mr. Elliot, Anne’s cousin begins to pursue her, but her heart has never wavered from the man she loves.

    In true Austen form, love is lost and found again, and the sweetness of this story is one to cherish. I can’t recommend it enough. With gorgeous period costumes and setting, it’s gorgeous to watch. And as I mentioned, Captain Wentworth didn’t disappoint with his brooding stares and ruffled hair. 🙂

    Next time you’re looking for a really wonderful chick-flick, pick up Persuasion. You’ll love it, like I do!

    Dreaming with an English accent until next time. -LJ

    Monday Memorial Movie – To Hell and Back

    audie-murphyIn honor of Memorial Day, I thought I’d recommend a military movie that I used to watch at least once a week when I was in Jr. High. It played on AMC at least once a day, it seemed like. To Hell and Back is the true story of Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated war heroes in audie-murphy2American history.

    Audie starred as himself in the film, which is based on the book of the same name that he wrote. According to Wikipedia, Audie’s grave at Arlington National Cementary is the second most visited behind that of President John F. Kennedy.

    Audie’s is a pretty amazing story from WWII, and I’d definitely recommend the movie–even if it is in black and white. 🙂

    Thanks to all of the men and women who have served our country in the military over the years, including my dad. Thanks, Dad!

    Happy Memorial Day!

    Monday Movie – The Moth

    the-mothWhen I was home a couple weeks ago, I was in the mood to watch a really romantic movie. Not a romantic comedy or an action flick with a romantic subplot. Nope. I wanted a really truly romantic movie.

    Enter the BBC version of Catherine Cookson’s The Moth, starring Jack Davenport, Juliet Aubrey, and Justine Waddell.

    It comes in handy that I gave it to my mom as a gift for Christmas a coule years ago, so I knew she had it. 🙂 (I completely abide by the rule: give gifts you’d like to receive. Hint, hint.) Amazon’s description is The Moth—In 1913, a talented carpenter leaves the Jarrow shipyards to work in a small village where an encounter with an ethereal girl-child changes his life.

    That’s really the most understated description ever written!

    The Moth is the story of Robert Bradley (Jack Davenport), a carpenter in the Irish shipyards just before WWI. When Robert’s father dies, his estranged uncle offers him a job working in his furniture-making shop. Robert decides to move to the country and moves in with his uncle’s family. But when Robert is wrongfully accused of impregnating his cousin Carrie, he chooses to leave the house and his job and finds work at the Thorman home.

    While Robert’s reputation is ruined, he refuses to lie about his actions or his feelings. But his reputation creates problems at the Thorman house, especially with Sarah, the eldest daughter. And Sarah’s jealousy and interest in Robert just makes things harder. But when Carrie’s delivery has complications, she tells her father that Robert isn’t the father of her baby.

    With his reputation restored (he has a great line about how his conscience was always clean), he can finally begin to explore his feelings for Sarah. But their class differences still stand in the way. Bankruptcylooms over the Thorman family, and Sarah feels helpless and trapped. But when Robert’s uncle dies, he leaves his business and land to Robert. Suddenly a man of property, he is able to act on his love for Sarah.

    The 3 part miniseries is way better than my description, and Jack Davenport is the reason why.


    If Jack looks familiar to you, you probably know him from the 3 Pirates of the Caribbean movies as Elizabeth Swan’s ill-fated fiance. Or maybe you saw him as Amy Adam’s groom-to-be in The Wedding Date. Either way, his absolutely fantastic as Robert Bradley. He’s subtle and caring, and he plays the part so beautifully. He’s handsome to boot, too!

    If you’re in the mood for a really good romance, don’t miss out on The Moth.

    Dreaming romantic dreams until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – Wolverine

    Amy and I have been so excited about seeing X-Men Origins: Wolverine for months. Me, because I love a good action flick and Hugh Jackman is always enjoyable to watch. Amy, because Taylor Kitschfrom Friday Night Lights is in it. I was out of town on opening weekend, so we had to wait until this weekend. Saturday afternoon we tooled on down to the theater, plopped in our seats, and both practically fell asleep.

    We were beat. Amy from getting up early to do flowers for a friend’s wedding. Me from still being on vacation. 🙂 But we managed to stay away until the previews started, and then we couldn’t sleep if we wanted to.

    Can I just say that the previews are usually one of my favorite things about seeing a movie? We caught my first preview of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. It looks AWESOME!!! I can’t wait! I’ve loved Shia LaBeouf since Even Stevens on the Disney Channel years ago. 

    Okay, so on to my thoughts on Wolverine …


    I had high expectations going into this flick. I enjoyed the last three X-Men movies, and I hoped that this would be just as amazing. The cast was awesome: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, and more. I read an article about how Hugh Jackman worked out to play the part. He’s really an animal. It’s crazy! How could the movie be bad with all these amazing actors?


    Turns out it wasn’t bad … just not great.

    Now it had some great parts–like when James/Logan/Wolverine (more on his name below) is on the run from mad scientist Colonel Stryker. Completely unclothed (warning for young and old viewers alike: the movie has a couple shots of an uncovered rear end) James finds refuge on the farm of an older couple. They invite him in, give him clothes, a hot meal, and a place to sleep. In return, he destroys their bathroom with his brand new Adamantium claws. It’s a great moment. And I was surprised how easily I laughed at this and a couple other spots.

    But there were some areas that really caught me and pulled me out of my suspended belief and landed me right back in reality. Things like name confusion. Our hero was raised as James, but Stryker calls him Logan. Where did that come from? I thought I misheard, but then I spent half the movie trying to figure out where the name change came from. Never did. Figure it out, that is.

    The plot, too, lacked some smooth transitions and left a few loose ends that always drive me crazy. Motivations weren’t always clear, and some of the CGI just looked too fake.

    But then the last fight scene started, and it was so cool that I almost forgot about the weak plot and strange motivations. I won’t give it away, but it was wicked (in the Boston sense of the word)! And they did a really great job of leaving the story at a great point for the first of the recent X-Men trilogy.

    And now … now I look forward to seeing Star Trek next weekend. Even if I’ve never seen an actual episode of any of the TV shows. 🙂

    Looking forward to a summer of fun movies until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

    So my sister and sister-in-law and I decided to go see a movie this last weekend. I so very rarely get to go out with them that I agreed to go see whatever they wanted. Beth wanted to see The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.


    It’s been more than a few years since I really loved a Matthew McConaughey movie. But I do love Jennifer Garner. And as I mentioned, I did really want to spend time with Hannah and Beth.

    Well, the girl-time was great! Laughing and giggling and eating of popcorn. The movie … well … not so great.

    I’d read a really terrible review of it the night before, so I was expecting something awful. And it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either … or even good. It was just okay. And it was frustrating to see that there were no consequences to Conner’s (played by McConaughey) promiscuous lifestyle except that he couldn’t be with Jenny (Garner) until he gave it up.  But at least there was a change in his character, a realization and change made, unlike some other recent chick flicks that drove me crazy.

    I don’t recommend this movie. Just the time with girlfriends.

    Already thinking about how much I’m going to miss hanging with the girls until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – 17 Again

    On Saturday Amy, Katie, Stephanie, and I headed out to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays (I’ll spare you the harassing Amy and I received for never having been before).  The four of us hadn’t hung out in quite a while, so it was great to get together and enjoy a chatty lunch and a movie.

    Our lunch server was … well … unique. And while we got together around 11:45 and the movie started at 12:50, we barely had enough time to make it to the theater due to some creative charges on Stephanie’s bill. It took about 15 minutes to get the billing mix ups taken care of, so we split up–Amy and I heading over to the theater first to get four seats together. We made it just in time for most of the previews, found seats and Steph and Katie joined us just as the movie started.

    So I have to confess that I generally don’t love Zac Efron, who stars in 17 Again. But I was willing to give it a go, as the other girls really wanted to see it and I usually love Matthew Perry. I just didn’t know how very little Matthew Perry was in the movie. But it turned out okay.


    Matthew Perry plays Mike O’Donnell, a man dissatisfied with his life and the choices that he’s made. As a 17 year-old he gave up a college scholarship to marry his pregnant girlfriend, and now he blames his wife for his unhappiness, and they are just days away from finalizing their divorce. Mike has almost no relationship with his two teenage kids, and he’s living with his computer geek best friend Ned.

    But then he gets the chance to be 17 again. But he doesn’t go back to 1989. He gets to be 17 again in present day. Suddenly he’s back in high school with his kids, befriending his bullied son Alex and his daughter Maggie, who is dating Alex’s bully.  And he doesn’t like what he sees.

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I usually find Efron’s adorableness a bit too … adorable. But I actually really believed him as a man trapped in a child’s body. I really appreciated the growth of his character in falling back in love with his wife and realizing the importance of his family. Low expectations always leave the door open for pleasant surprises.

    Hoping you get a pleasant surprise until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – You’ve Got Mail

    On Saturday I woke up from a lovely afternoon nap and flicked on the TV while I made a wonderfully delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I flicked channels a bit until I landed on a classic favorite: You’ve Got Mail.


    This is one of my family’s favorites. I remember going to see it in the theater years ago with my parents. My dad and I especially love Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies. (Have you seen Joe Versus the Volcanoe? It’s a classic!) Anyway, if you’ve been living on the moon for the last ten years and haven’t heard of You’ve Got Mail, it’s the sweet story of Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox who meet in an online chat room (yea, it totally dates itself) and don’t have any idea who the other is or even their name as they e-mail back and forth. 

    Kathleen owns a small children’s bookstore that her mother opened years before. Joe is the owner of Fox and Sons Books, a chain mega book store. When a Fox and Sons opens across the street from Kathleen’s store, she goes “to the mattresses” to fight the big, bad mega store. As they fight in person, Kathleen and Joe continue e-mailing each other, each unaware that their online penpal is their nemesis.

    My favorite part of the film is when Joe discovers that Kathleen is his e-mail buddy and he realizes that he’s in love with her. He messes with her just a bit as he woos her. It’s my favorite!

    Oh, also, it’s filled with great one-liners. Like when George, one of Kathleen’s employees, says, “I’m off to by a eucalyptus candle, because it makes my apartment smell moss-ay.” My dad and I always quote this line to each other, and it did prompt him to buy me a eucalyptus candle when I moved into my first apartment. After four moves, I still have it. Thanks, dad!

    This movie is so fun, and after re-watching it this weekend, I’m inspired to read Pride and Prejudice, which is Kathleen Kelly’s favorite book. I love when Joe Fox tries to read it at her suggestion but keeps putting it down because it doesn’t entice him in the least. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely a must.

    Loving great rom coms until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – Inkheart

    This weekend Amy and I drove up to Denver to visit my aunt and uncle. We’d been invited for the whole Easter weekend, but we already had plans on Easter Sunday, so we decided to enjoy just one night with them. After a lengthy round of Phase 10, a family favorite table game, we started discussing what we should do on Saturday. It was decided that shopping and a movie sounded like a good time.

    The problem was that there aren’t very many interesting movies out right now that I really want to see. I’d be up for Slumdog Millionaire. My aunt’s already seen it. Amy was up for Duplicity. I’ve seen it. It went like that for a couple rounds until we finally landed on Inkheart, which none of us had seen. But it was only showing at one theater all the way on the other side of town. It was a place called Cinema Grill.

    If you’re thinking this sounds an awful lot like a restaurant and a movie theater you’d be right!

    So it turned out that the theater was showing mostly movies that had been out for a while, and tickets were only $2.50 each. Kind of like our dollar theater here in town.

    But instead of having normal theater seating, there were tables and counters where we sat in comfy swivel chairs. We ordered food from the menu (it was pretty typical American style food) and they brought it to us while we watched the movie. It was a amazing! I’ve never even heard of a place like that. It was a dinner theater for lunch at the movies.

    While I’m usually easily distracted and I did notice the servers wandering through the theater, it didn’t really bother me. Maybe it was the novelty of it all, but I had a blast. What a unique idea.


    I confess that the movie was completely secondary to the entire experience, but I did enjoy it a lot. Based on the the book, Inkheart stars Brendan Fraser as Mo, who has the ability to read characters from books into reality. But when a character is brought to life, someone from reality has to go into the book. That’s how Mo lost his wife nines years before.

    He’s been looking for a copy of the incredbily rare Inkheart for just as long, hoping to read her back into reality.  But when he finally finds it, he and his daughter are plunged into an adventure that could only come from the pages of a book.

    It’s quite an imaginative story, and I definitely enjoyed it. I’ve heard that the movie is actually better than the books (which is so rare), but I haven’t read them myself yet. It was a blast eating my chicken fingers, fries, and sundae while watching a movie on the big screen. Quite a great weekend!

    Thinking about opening up my own Cinema Grill until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – Dear Frankie and The Miracle Match

    Since I missed my Monday Movie segment last week, I thought it only fair to offer you two movies this week. I watched them both a couple weeks ago. Got them from the library. They star … big shocker here … Gerard Butler.  🙂 Without further ado. My thoughts:

    dear-frankie1Dear Frankie

    It’s a sweet story of a mother’s love for her son and the lengths she’ll go to to protect him. To save him from his abusive father, Lizzie tells her son Frankie that his dad is a sailor and at sea. But when the ship he’s on docks in Glasgow, the kid makes a bet with a school bully that his dad will show up at the football tryouts. So Lizzie hires a Stranger (seriously, in the credits, he’s called “The Stranger”) to pretend to be the Frankie’s dad. Gerard plays the Stranger, and he forms this bond first with the son and then with the mom.

    I wanted so badly to love this movie. I had heard great things about it, and I wanted it to be everything I hoped for. I was disappointed. It was an independent movie, which was great. But it lacked something in the story. Mostly, a conclusion. It just sort of ended. There was no wrap up or hope. Just mom and son sitting on a dock with no idea if the  The Stranger will return.

    Also, I had a lot of questions that were never answered. At the end we find out that Frankie has been harboring secrets of his own, but we have no idea for how long he’s been keeping them from his mom.  Will the Stranger return and find happiness and love with Lizzie? Will Lizzie allow herself to find roots? I find questions like that frustrating, and it really detracted from the acting and imagery of the movie, which were both top-notch. With high hopes I was disappointed.the-miracel-match

    But then came …
    The Miracle Match

    Low expectations meant the movie didn’t even have to be mediocre to meet them. And it was far better than that. The true story of the 1950 US Soccer team’s defeat of England in the first round of the World Cup was truly inspiring. It wasn’t perhaps the same caliber of movie as many of the Disney true sports stories over the last several years, but it was a good story nonetheless.

    A hodge podge of soccer players–half from St. Louis and half from New York–are thrown together 10 days before they’re to fly to Brazil for their first game. They’re expected to lose, especially when their few practice games are disasters.

    And then the day of the first game of the World Cup, they stand on a US Army base in Brazil and are informed that the US has just entered a conflict with Korea. And as the men of the team, most of them veterans from WWII, accept their uniforms, they also accept that they’re playing not for themselves but for an entire country, which they serve. Very patriotic moment. It’s a great underdog story as this rag tag bunch of men go head to head with the team that was considered unbeatable.

    It was missing a stirring voice over at the end telling us how they did in the overall tournament, as we only get to see the one game. But it was still a good story with some really fun characters that I enjoyed rooting for.

    Looking for other good Gerard Butler flicks until next time. -LJ