Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 I hesitate to review a movie that is rated “R” but again, there can be some content that is worth watching and some “R” films are less raunchy than others.  Again though, although I review movies that are suitable for children, this is not one of those movies.  I will never review a movie that I wholeheartedly do not recommend, simply because it wastes the time of my reader even visiting my site if they want to WATCH a movie; why would you look for a movie you DON’T want to watch.   If I wanted to rate every movie I watch I would never stop typing because I see over 10 movies a week.  I did want to say though that my favorite kind of movie is a comedy.  Although I will tend to want to watch them first, I will also gravitate towards Sci-fi, Romantic Comedy’s, Action, Fantasy, Children’s and Psycho-thrillers.  If I review a movie it will definitely be one of these genres so if you don’t like any of those I listed this is not the site for your movie tastes.

Management is a very interesting movie for several reasons: one, it starts very oddly and feels awkward the way the characters behave; secondly, it doesn’t end up being about what I though it would be about, Management; thirdly, there is a message that is unexpected by the way the movie starts and fourthly it ends better than it starts, which is a good thing.  Allow me to explain these ideas.  The movie starts with meeting the family that runs a motel on old Route 66 in Arizona.  The son of the couple that owns the Hotel, Mike (Steve Zahn), lives at the Hotel and works pretty much 24/7.  In walks Sue (Jennifer Aniston) and she is livid there isn’t a recycling program at the hotel.  There is some contact that Sue and Steve have prior to this conversation and he doesn’t want his parents to know that he went to her room with a bottle of wine the night before.  Sue plays it cool and Mike is relieved.  This whole first part is very awkward but don’t let that ruin the movie for you.  There are some reasons this is shown that way which will be revealed by the characters as you get to know them and that is revealed as they get to know each other. 

The title is a kind of paradigm shift from what one would think about the word management.  Normally people think about management as a noun describing a person who “manages others” in a work environment.  Authority is what is implied by the title, and that is a key to understanding the “paradigm shift” in this movie.  I will only say, think about WHAT is being managed in this movie.  It lends to a more appreciative introspection for the message the writer was trying to create in my opinion.  Understanding this is key to understanding the premise of the movie which is to communicate an idea about how people should live their lives.  I really liked the fact that the writer director Stephen Belber used music with very specific words to convey the idea of the movie even before it was revealed completely by the context.  I would encourage you to look up the lyrics of two songs as they are playing or after the movie is over: "Adventures in Solitude" Written by A.C. Newman, Performed by The New Pornographers (IMDB) and "What I'm Looking For," Written and Performed by Brendan Benson.   Essentially the movie starts out making me think it’s about Mike’s relationship with his family, managing the hotel and the struggles of that, but nope; it’s not about that at all.  It’s really about the relationship between Sue and Mike, but even more than that, the relationship they have with themselves.  Yeah, I know; deep, right?
Without giving the point to the movie away the message is simple yet profound in my opinion.  Each of the characters has to come to terms with the way they are living their life, what they find important and what they should invest more energy into, but the script doesn’t talk about why they ended up that way.  I like that because it really doesn’t matter if they figure out how the got screwed up because the love they have for each other is what makes changing all the worth while.  Changing for yourself is what makes life worth living, and changing for someone else makes life more enjoyable.  Sometimes people live for themselves or for others but never both at the same time and that’s the very lesson these two have to learn.  Well there I go, I said it.  Its okay though, the way it’s revealed in the movie is much more entertaining and important.

The end of the movie of course is a happy ending; that’s the only kind of movie I like.  What’s the point of leaving a movie open ended or writing a tragedy if the audience doesn’t feel a sense of completion.  That’s what life is always moving toward and why we feel anxious when completion hasn’t happened yet.  A good movie is like a good song; you want it to feel completed at the end and the time getting there makes the end bitter sweet.  Bitter sweet because it was so good you don’t want it to end, but since it’s over a good completion justifies the experience.  Perhaps you will find this movie as endearing as I did and I certainly hope so.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Open Season 3 Review

There are so many choices for movies out there these days.  We have a boom in entertainment and more movie complexes with more theaters than ever before.  Movie ticket sales are waning all the time and yet Americans still watch just as many movies.  I believe that the potential for creativity is important for us to support this art form but unfortunately many people support movies they wouldn’t necessarily see if they had more information about the type of movie before renting or buying a ticket.  I started this blog so that I can review movies that I like, rather than telling people not to see a movie; that way if people who follow have the same taste they know it’s a good movie to see because I watch A LOT of movies and I can help them prevent wasting their money.  Once in a while I come across a movie that I whole heartedly enjoy and recommend for a family and Open Season 3 is the very movie.

The movie opens with Boog trying to set up a “guys trip” with Elliot but he has responsibilities and promises to his family and has to decline the pre-arranged trip with Boog.  This sets the premise of the move that Boog feels unappreciated and lonely.  Being single and having only one best friend causes him to think he doesn’t “fit in.”  Off to a distant land to find a place where he fits in and he stumbles across a circus.  There he meets a Russian female bear named Ursula and tries to win her affections.  The movie also has some funny side characters that come along with Bobbie (played by Georgia Engel from Everybody Loves Raymond) who has a clan of animals who are always trying to escape from her.  She is obsessed with finding aliens and drags her husband on these adventures in the woods in their RV. 

This series of movies always has a very important theme that understands what is common to people’s lives these days.  In the first movie it is aimed a little towards the younger audience; however this installment has a more grown up idea of making sure we invest time in our friends if we expect them to stick around.  Boog promises the llama they will have “guys night” every night to talk about guy things.  At one point Boog chooses to spend the time with Ursula rather than the llama but the llama forgives Boog for not keeping his promise to spend time with him that night.  The llama forgives him and Boog is surprised and assumes the llama won’t forgive him.  The llama says “of course, that’s what friends are for!”  Perhaps children miss the message in these movies but adults miss the message too in our every day relationships when they call apart and we don’t understand why. 

It’s a good idea to take inventory of our relationships and think about who we haven’t spent time with lately and schedule that time.  Keep your promises and you will have people in your life you can count on when the chips are down.  Family is so consuming but we always need our friends.  I hope that someone comes to your mind after reading this review and you give them a call or write a letter.  Giving someone an encouraging word, thankfulness or expressing how much we love someone and why can lift their spirits and make room in our hearts for more love.

Friday, August 19, 2011


 Family, Romantic Comedy, Kids and Science Fiction are about the only movie genre’s today that aren’t rated R, and even the Science Fiction movies are rated R these days too.  Although I do watch R movies if it is one that I feel will possess the content that will be redeeming in some way (which I’m wrong half the time) I do appreciate a good review to help me know what I’m getting myself into.  That’s why I started this blog is to communicate with like minded individuals who appreciate what the entertainment business has to offer that makes a person feel better about humanity, life, love and spirituality.  These are what I call “rare gems” in the entertainment business.  Unfortunately many of the “feel good” movies cater to an audience under 10, or assume that most families are not very intelligent because the plot is so uninteresting or it is written in a satirical way that seems to make fun of itself.  I chose Zookeeper for this review simply because it rises above all of my criticisms of movies (mostly).

I love a simple story with great writing that delivers comedy through one liners as though you were watching a stand up comedy routine.  Those are some of my favorite sitcoms to watch and this movie plays out very much like an ongoing sitcom.  One of my favorite actors who primarily plays the same character he was in “King of Queens” is Kevin James.  He is so great with physical comedy and really delivers in this movie.  There were several times I was cringing and afraid that he may really have hurt himself in the making of this movie but that’s his comic genius. 

Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is a Zookeeper (duh) and he’s supposed to be the best zookeeper the zoo has ever had because he thinks of the animals more like people than animals.  He talks to them and tries to get inside their heads in order to meet their needs more appropriately.  To say the animals adore him is an understatement because when they hear he may be leaving the zoo again to follow a gorgeous blond buxom supermodel Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) they hatch a plan to help him land the girl of his dreams thinking he’ll be happy and stay at the zoo; until their plan backfired.  That’s when things get crazy around the zoo and we get a surprise when we find out that the lion has a name and he isn’t ashamed to say it.  Sylvester Stallone plays Joe the Lion in a major role along with Nick Nolte as Bernie the Gorilla and Adam Sandler as Donald the Monkey.  Each of the animals are played by talented actors both young and old(er) with the kind of fines that makes this movie so endearing.  My favorite is when Bruce and Jerome the bears (Faizon Love and Jon Favreau) fight with each other because they have just the right kind of humor and playfulness in their voices to make it sound so funny.

Griffin desperate to win over his ex lover Stephanie who dumped him because he was just a Zookeeper starts to take advice from each of the animals about how to win over a woman.  Each animal gives their advice from the perspective of their own instincts for their species which makes this movie so funny.  There are two premises though that are difficult to swallow the first being that Stephanie, a supermodel would have been interested in Griffin in the first place and that she would consider going back to him at all.  Secondly it is even more silly that a zookeeper that knows animal behavior already would consider taking advice from animals about women at all no matter how desperate he was.  As long as you the watcher can suspend your belief enough to enjoy the comedy in this movie you will enjoy it greatly.  There is something here for the whole family to enjoy and surprisingly it is a darn good romantic comedy too which I wasn’t expecting.  The surprise chemistry between Kevin James and Rosario Dawson is largely due to her amazing acting ability.  Equally as enjoyable was Ken Jeon as “Venom;” a crazy assistant who is gives inappropriate social conduct a new name.

The most endearing aspect to this movie is that it teaches us that it is much better to not just be true to who we are but to also strive to understand other people’s circumstances and life struggles and find ways to be an encouragement to them.  Griffin does that with the animals but many of us have people around us that are in need of friendship, compassion, a listening ear or just a smile or a laugh.  If we make an effort to take the time to connect on a heart level with strangers or co-workers little changes can effect a lot of people for good in our world.  Perhaps we may even see fewer prescriptions for anti-depressants in this country.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau Review

“The Adjustment Bureau” in my opinion is similar to some other ideas that have been around and expressed in a remake of “The Outer Limits” where there are people behind the scenes that change the sets for our home, work, store etc. before we get there because there is a limited amount of space.  This gives the reasoning for those moments when we
“swear” we left our wallet on the dresser but somehow it is on the coffee table because the “workers” made a mistake resetting the scene.  In order for this to work like clockwork, our actions have to be pre-determined. 

“The Adjustment Bureau” works in a similar fashion where we have two star crossed lovers who are NOT destined to be together.  David Norris (Matt Damon) is running for New York Senator and meets the woman of his dreams, Elise (Emily Blunt) is in the men’s room before a concession speech David must give.  The rest of the movie David is desperately and obsessively trying to find Elise, only to come across her unexpectedly 11 months later.  The encounters are brief but I feel the writers gave me an adequate glimpse into their passion and I felt the chemistry between the two was enough to want them to be together.  The “Adjustment Bureau” is a group of men who use special powers to intervene in our lives to make sure we make certain choices that lead to particular people who shape the direction of our lives.  Have you ever looked back at your life and thought about all the people you met, conversations you had, how it affected your ideas, choices and goals in life?  It can seem quite amazing that all of those events led to your happiness, or unhappiness in some cases but this is the basic idea of the movie.

I haven’t heard much talk about the movie and I can’t help but wonder why.  I suppose there are some that feel the premise is absurd since they may be Atheists however I do think the premise works best for Western minded individuals.  Many of the Eastern folks don’t get too concerned with what their deity is doing in their lives as much as they are devoted to living out the truth that is inside them.  In this adventure drama there is a clear force that is working against the two main characters and becomes the protagonist in this story.  What is interesting is that since “The Chairman” decides the course that people should take he is perceived as a villain because “The Chairman” wants something other than what the characters want.  This is the main problem perhaps the writers wanted to convey that many of us feel at times when we feel god does not have the best intentions in mind for us.  How my choices affect fate is the question we are left with?  Is my life going poorly because I caused it to go that way or does god want me to have a bad life?  Why do other people seem to have everything fall together for them?

In this movie there is a reason given for why “The Chairman” decides the course for each person in the world.  I think it makes a great deal more sense too when considering the ending when that reason is compared to how these two characters end up.  I found myself asking what choices do I take for granted and if so, how does that affect my future?  If you believe in a god who is all powerful, how much does that god affect your life, your choices, your desires?  Is Serendipity real?  I would like to think so, but I also think “free will” is an undeniable law as well.  I find that the closer I “feel” to my God, the more my choices are what He would intend for me anyway.