Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category

Maybe a small spoiler alert here. Though I think the trailer says as much. But just in case I thought I’d add the alert anyway.
Watched Joy the other day. When I saw that the director was David O. Russell and stared Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro & Bradley Cooper I knew I just had to see this movie. I must admit it wasn’t a busy movie and it was different but it was still really good. Another wonderful inspiring movie.
I recently finished reading David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. This movie could have been in that book. lol (I plan to do a book review on David & Goliath later.)
I loved how Russell really showed not just the tragedy behind success but also took the audience on the emotional ups and downs of what it takes to succeed when things aren’t just easily handed to you. Gladwell’s book also takes you on several of those kinds of journeys but seeing it on screen as amazing actors act it out is a whole different level. And no, I don’t think this movie and Gladwells book had anything to do with each other, or maybe they did. Hum… lol What has Russell been reading? 
There’s also Gladwells book called What the Dog Saw which also makes it clear that you can’t be “lucky” if you don’t put your self in a position to be and to be ready. There’s no guarantee you will find success, but at least you will have a better chance. This movie really puts that into perspective. The only reason Joy was lucky enough to achieve amazing abundant success is because she trained herself, she made her self available, she pushed through when people told her to give up, she never stopped. If she hadn’t become a success she would have still left a wonderful legacy for her daughter.
As far as wither the movie is true or not, it’s a mix of both. Initially the story is about Joy Mangano. But, it is also about several other woman who went through a lot before becoming a success and those woman are all wrapped up in Joy’s character (played by Jennifer Lawrence) as well. I found a good article on it at The True Story Behind the Movie Joy.

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I wasn’t gonna do it. Nope! It was my “my day” and I had decided to see Krampus at the matinee since I didn’t want to see the other options.  I wasn’t going to see the new Moby-Dick movie called, In the Heart of the Sea.


I have a bit of a history with Moby-Dick. You see when my oldest, Hannah, was a toddler I got the move and we watched it. I didn’t realize that she would become obsessed with it and every time I would ask her what she wanted to watch she wouldn’t ask for a cartoon or princess movie, she would ask for Moby Dick. Yes, I am talking about the one staring Patrick Stewart. It was a good movie, but not really a movie I wanted to watch over and over again. But we did, we watched it over and over again.

moby dick patrick stewart

Although I decided not to see In the Heart of the Sea but to possibly wait till it came out on DVD I would have gone to see it with Hannah if she had wanted to. However, she lost her Moby Dick obsession a long time ago and had no interest in seeing the new film.

So it was the day before I planned to go to the cinema. I was looking at the movie times and it hit me. I had to see it, I had to see the new Moby-Dick movie. Almost like I didn’t have a choice. Almost like I’m the one with the obsession. But it’s not Moby-Dick I’m obsessed with. It the same as when I had to see the movie called San Andreas. It was my past, it was my home, it was my life, and I had to see it.

So that was it, I would go see In the Heart of the Sea.

I actually got teared up almost right away. They played a most epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer and I almost cried with happiness. It was awesome!

superman v batman

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The movie (In the Heart of the Sea) was fine. It, like most Moby-Dick type moves, had it’s exciting parts and it’s slow moving parts. Other then wanting to see it because I lived on a sail boat in the Pacific I also had decided the cinema would be a good choice for the cinematography. I regret not seeing The Life of Pi in the theaters for that reason. However, In the Heart of the Sea didn’t have the amazing ocean and whale moments I was expecting and that the movie poster let on to have.

But as far as bringing back memories, that it did. Thankfully I was never a whaler. Oy, that would be an awful regret. But I do have ocean and harbor stories. Shoot, you want a scary giant whale, just sail close to a freighter in the ocean. Actually, you don’t even have to be close to feel the dread and the swell effects.

There were plenty of bad memories from the boat but it’s the good ones that take forefront and center. And really the bad ones are white washed and proud loved moments as well. That’s how adventure experience stories work.

The Atlantic ocean is so different from the Pacific. But it’s a step closer then the great lakes. Still, it’s the Pacific I really miss. And it’s adventure that really gets to me. Most my life has been an adventure one way or another. In some ways it still is. But it seems there are more moments of just existing then actually living and I miss the thrill of going new places and doing new things and watching my children learn on the road and experience real life and real people. Sure, living in a small town is real life and there are real people here, but most of them don’t seem to have a clue that there’s a bigger world out there. And some of them are actually afraid of that fact. I can’t help but go back to my idea of living in an RV and work camping and un-schooling and how awesome that would have been. It would have been an awesome adventure for us. As far as safety, shoot, going to public school is probably more dangerous.


I found this pic on Google images. I gotta admit, there folks do look pretty scary. So glad my ex stopped us from running into to such dangerous people. 

I will do the best I can with what I have and my kids will make their own adventures in their own time. But I can’t help tearing up after a movie like that when thinking about all the adventures we could be on not just in an RV but if we could afford to go over seas and see the world. Not just as tourist but also as humanitarians.

Hannah desperately wants to go overseas to Italy or the UK as an exchange student or to do relief work. I have to believe we’ll find a way and she’ll make it sooner then later.

So, yeah, that’s what happens when I go to see a movie like In the Heart of the Sea. Horrible things are happening in the movie and I miss the adventure. Lol!

As far as the San Andreas movie, it was just fun seeing my old home shaken and torn apart, and having the ever so yummy Dwayne Johnson as the main character didn’t hurt either.

dwayne johnson

Dwayne Johnson

Back to In the Heart of the Sea, I just gotta add, don’t think that whales don’t have a sense of humor and know exactly what they are doing. Those big buggers are smart and know how to play a practical joke. Sure! I’ll tell you the story.

It was a bright and sunny day and the wind made for good sailing. We were crossing the ocean from Catalina Island to the main land. My mom was on the helm when my dad, sister and I spotted a whale off in the distance. It’s not just the water from the blow hole that gives them away, it’s also the flat water in the mist of cat claws (choppy water) that’s a dead giveaway.

To our delight the whale came near the bow of the boat so my dad, sister and I got a good look at it. Then it dove down and we saw it go off into the horizon. My mom being stuck on the helm was very disappointed in not having gotten to see the whale. What we all didn’t know was that the whale had backtracked and swam under our boat. It came up right behind the stern and blew water onto my mom who screamed and jumped a couple feet into the air. Of course we all about died laughing after that as we watched the whale flip it’s tail into the air and once again disappear under the sea.


My mom, dad, sister and me in front of the Moon Shadow right after moving aboard her in Oxnard, Ca. The bottom pic is of the Moon Shadow outside the harbor Avalon in Catalina Island. 


So you see, it’s not the sea sick moments or the boring moments I recall, it’s the beautiful ones like that that come to mind when watching a movie about a life I had a tiny piece of.



I’ve written many more stories about my live aboard days and hopefully will be writing many more in the near future. Even better, I hope to have it published one day.

You can find the link to them either on my Moon Shadow Facebook fan page at  Moon Shadow – My live aboard days.

Or directly on here at  ‘Moon Shadow – My live aboard days’ .  You will just need to scroll to the bottom for Part 1.


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Noah…. the 2014 movie staring Russell Crowe as Noah, Anthony Hopkin as Methuselah, Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain, Nick Nolte as Samyaza and Emma Watson as Shem’s female partner. I saw it in the cinema a few days ago while waiting for my car to be repaired. What did I think of it? That isn’t an easy question to answer. I think the best answer is bizarre, it was bizarre. The actors were great and quite a bit of the movie was pretty good too. Even the guardian rock monsters were pretty cool. But the overall story line and the feeling you have when it’s over is… bizarre.

What I really didn’t like was the Darren Aronofsky’s hip-hop montage he threw in there. It hurts my eyes and I think my brain. I also don’t care for the type of filming where it feels like the camera man is jogging and the camera bounces up and down. A lot of films have been doing that lately and it’s most annoying.

If one is lining it up with the KJV Bible they will be very disappointed or even angry. I’ve been saying for a while now that there are many Bible stories that would make great movies like Percy Jackson and Hercules and such. The movie Noah definitely went down that road. I wondered at first if the writer was an atheist but then I started thinking maybe he’s something else like a Muslim. I don’t know much about Islam, but I do know they have a lot of similar stories as Christianity and Judaism but their version has big differences which naturally they claim are the right ones just like the other two religions do about their views. That got me to thinking even more. After all, I was raised on Christian views of other religions including Islam, Judaism and Catholicism so maybe there was more to the Noah story in the Torah and for that matter there could be more to it in the Catholic writings as well.

What I found was that Judaism account of Noah isn’t much different then the Christian version but the Islamic story has quite a few differences. One being the guardians helping to build the ark though it never said they looked like rock transformers. The movie has less people on board then any of the religious stories. That part was a bit annoying to me as well. I don’t mind the straying from the religious texts thing to some degree but it can be a bit much at times. Even though it is technically a myth it’s nice to not stray too much from the well known tales. But, to each his own, some folks may really love all the straying.

As far as the writers and producers Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel are both Jewish born and raised from what I can tell. I appreciate how they were able to incorporate different religious views into their movie as well as good story telling and cinema fun.

If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you keep an open fairy tale mind and just enjoy all the carnage, bad attitudes and water and don’t expect it to be like the story you grew up on. On that note, if you haven’t read the actual tale in your religious texts or haven’t read it since you were a child I suggest you do the same. The story of Noah isn’t about rainbows and unicorns, well, maybe it is a little but not the happy happy joy joy kind. Even though it is said to be about salvation and mercy, it’s more like death and revenge.

The last scene where they look up and there are psychedelic rainbows I was waiting for the song “It’s Raining Men” to start playing and hot shirtless dudes to drop from the sky but sadly that didn’t happen. I guess that was my brains way of not really thinking about Shem’s daughters having to hook up with their uncles in order to replenish the earth.



Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel Ari Handel and Darren Aronofsky

ark emma-watson-logan-lerman-and-more-in-noah huyen_thoai_noah_tien_cong_cac_rap_viet_vao_thang_032014_2360 jennifer-connelly-noah-movie-hd-1920x1080 Russell Crowe as Noah

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Yeah me! I got to see Les Miserables the Movie!

I first learned about Les Mes from my dad who had Les Misérables: The Dream Cast in Concert playing on PBS. Of course I fell in love with it. I learned several of the songs and dreamed of seeing the play.

I was crushed when it finally came to San Diego and I couldn’t afford to go. I also felt it was ironic that the whole thing is about the poor being oppressed but you had to be rich to attend.

I did the next best thing and read the the book written by Victor Hugo. It was often grueling to get through but it was still wonderful.  Besides learning all the details behind every character and appreciating them more it was a great history and geography lesson. The book is historical fiction and there is a lot of true history in it very meticulously detailed. I mean, Hugo describes the battlefield so that you would recognized practically every speak of dirt and rock.  Naturally the play and now the movie leave out a ton of info but they still have done a good job of summing it all up.

Now about the 2012 movie. The acting was superb! Overall it was wonderful. I knew to take tissues with me cause I cried while watching the trailers. I used my tissues through out about the first third of the movie.  It was heart wrenching sad. It lightened up after that as usually when the Thenardier’s, played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, came into the scene. Cohen did a perfect Thenardier but I felt Carter was lacking on the humor as Madame. I recognized Carter from many Johnny Depp movies and she is a wonderful actress. It’s just that she seemed too serious for this part.

Huge Jackman fit the part of Jean Valjean in most ways. His stature, the way he looks, his acting, but sadly not his voice. He can sing fine, he’s great, it’s just that his voice type wasn’t the masculine we are used to such as Colm Wilkinson’s in the dream cast production. Jean Valjean is a kind hearted but intimidating mans man. Though Hugh fit the part in looks his voice sounded more like someone who wanted to be that way but wasn’t, someone like Javert.

Russel Crow played Javert. He pulled the part off in every way.

Anna Hathaway as Fantine. She was wonderful.

Amanda Seyfreind played Cosette. Her performance was great but at first her voice was a little week. She got better and really pulled it off by the end.

The young Cosette, Isabelle Allen, was wonderful.

Eddie Redmayne played Marius. He seemed to be the most vocally trained and professional. His acting didn’t match the others but it was still quite good. His eyes didn’t seem to know where to focus which made me wonder if he has aspergers. However, when watching him in an interview it was quite different and I didn’t see that awkwardness at all. Maybe it was just his interpretation of Marius and rightly so, Marius is a character who is basically trying to figure him self out.

Daniel Huttlestone played Gavroche, and played the part perfectly both in voice and acting. His type of character reminds me of my youngest, Kyle. If Kyle were brought up in such an era and way he would be exactly what Gavroche embodies, not just a street urchin but a survivalist with too many smarts.

There are three things I would have done differently. One is to me a rather big thing. It’s when Fantine is singing Dreamed a Dream, they kept the camera on Anne’s face the whole time. Her singing was great and her acting was over the top but there is quite a story to her glory days that they could have used as memories through out the song and thus not keeping the camera on that one set the entire time. The other was a small detail. When Javert is singing his suicide song, his last note would have been so much more dramatic if he did it as he fell rather then waiting a bit. The third thing being the second to the last song where the main characters are singing together. They started it off well but then just cut it short and made the grand finale with the entire cast instead. Not that it was bad, but the main character collage is so intense and powerful, it was just a shame to get us into it and then drop it.

Overall I will have to own this one when it comes out on DVD, it was quite good. And yes, I needed my tissues for the end. I also need to get the Dream cast one since I haven’t had it for years now. The Dream Cast one will always have my favorite Les Miserables singers performing. I still hope to one day see the play in person.

les mis main


Isabelle Allen as the young Cosette.


Huge Jackman as Jean Valjean

Les Miserables Movie 2012 Russell Crowe

Russel Crow as Javert


Anna Hathaway as Fantine.


Amanda Seyfreind as Cosette.


Eddie Redmayne as Marius.


Samantha Barks as Eponine.


Thenardier’s, played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.


Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche.

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Well, we were all excited about this one when they first started advertising it. As usual with me, I was bummed that it was gonna be force-fed on us with 3D but regardless I couldn’t wait to see it. They did seem to actually make use of the 3D part which was considerate since most cinemas charge a much bigger price when the glasses are part of the deal.

The movie started out cheesy. They made some changes to the history established in the first movie which I didn’t mind so much but the cheesy lines and some of the action was leaning towards B grade. Thankfully as the movie progressed so did the lines and the action. It redeemed it’s self and was a great watch and had a wonderful ending!

I am glad I did not take my boys to see it. They are young and will likely enjoy it on DVD but it would have freaked them out on the big screen.

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The trailer looked intriguing and held up it’s end of the bargain. The suspense was good and not overdone or annoying.

Amanda Seyfried, who also stared in Momma Mia and Red Ridding Hood, once again used her eyes to charm in their haunting way. She did a wonderful job of playing the leading role of Jill, a woman considered unstable who searches for her sister whom she believes is kidnapped by the same man who kidnapped her.

I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end.

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I believe some people may feel this movie is a bit too over the top. Humm, thus the name – Impossible. So really, with a name like that they are bound to make it over the top. And that they did quite well.

I love it, it was fast, full of action and fun. There was no shortage of stunts either.

Now that the James Bond movies have tired of the gadgets and gone all serious and taken the womanizer out of Bond we’ll just have to hope more Mission Impossible’s come out for us to enjoy.

The Indian scenery was absolutely wonderful. I can’t wait to go there.  I was thrilled my friend Vinod got to see Tom Cruz as he was leaving a hotel. Sweet!


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