The Star: A Real Treat

As far as films based on the Bible go, this one is a keeper. Without going into the realm of religion, The Star keeps it simple. It’s basically a story about faith and friendship. Something anyone can relate to at all times.

The Star stands out because the main characters are animals.  Their role in the story of the “king” provides entertainment while driving home the importance of values. Being true to friends and having faith should be the compass that guides any soul through the complexities of life.

The film remained close to the story of the birth of the King as it has been told to humanity. Elements associated with this event were not relevant. You don’t see anything having to do with Christmas. It’s a film that can be viewed any time of the year.

No matter what “faith” you belong to,  consider The Star a motivational film. Emphasis is on the three Fs: Friends, Family, and Faith. I give it a two thumbs up! ~~LMMolina

 

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Ferdinand: Being True to Oneself

Be true to yourself! If ever there was a classic message, this one is it. What a lovely movie! Based on a children’s book by Munro Leaf,  it tells the story of a flower-loving bull. What I didn’t know was that Disney had already made a movie based on the story in 1938 and had won an academy award.

I’ve never been a fan of bull-fighting. Even though it’s a cultural thing, I’m against the killing of any animal for the sake of sport. The movie brings this out in a heart-warming way. We root for Ferdinand and celebrate his victory and his need to be who he is. We can all relate, right? It’s a children’s movie which any adult can enjoy. I heartily recommend it.~~LMMolina

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

If you enjoy watching films that keep you on the edge of your seat, this one’s for you!  Sequels are always kind of risky for a director but in this case, I thought it worked well for Matthew Vaughn.  Fast paced, stunning visual effects, a touch of romance, humor…all the elements to keep the viewer hooked.

As for the characters, Julianne Moore was a hoot in her psychopathic role as the villainous Poppy and Jeff Bridges as Champ was fun to watch!  Gambon was a treat even if his role was short-lived. Thank you, Vaughn for bringing back Colin Firth’s character. It was tastefully done and very believable. I’m looking forward to another adventure with the “Kingsman”! ~~LMMolina

 

Despicable Me 3 & The Lego Ninjaga Movie: It’s All About the Family

Hurricane Maria and its aftermath had kept me a bit busy but now that I have power again, I took some time out to watch two movies that I would recommend for those who enjoy light entertainment: Despicable Me 3 and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Curious how these two films emphasize family relationships. Siblings, father-son, step-mom and daughters, mom-son… there’s a little bit for everyone in both. I admit that at the beginning of each, I didn’t know where they were headed but as the plot moved on, I sensed a message and learned several valuable lessons. There’s always room for improvement, changes occur and can be embraced, love, forgive and move on are just a few that come to mind. Simple stories using humor to bring across a message to teach us that no matter what has happened in the past, we can benefit from our mistakes and accept family for what they are. Both films are worth watching with the family time and again.

As Master Wu would say, “Find your inner ‘piece.'” (Love the pun!) And after what’s happened to us in the Caribbean, I would add: If the pieces fall, just pick them up and put them together again as best you can!  An excellent message for the New Year 2018, don’t you think? ~~LMMolina

 

More summer viewing: Mystery Series

Although this blog is mainly about movies, I can think of a few British television series that have full-length episodes that I would consider films! They usually run around 90 minutes. So I suppose it might be a short film.

One of my favorites (and I have quite a few!) is the Midsomer Murders series. Midsomer Murders is the classic small-town police procedural and there is always a murder as the title suggests. I’ve been watching this series ever since the beginning but I prefer purchasing the DVDs so I don’t have to deal with the TV commercials or “adverts” as the British call them. That way I can view them in the comfort of my home and with subtitles. The British have their own speech dialect which can be confusing if you’re not used to it. And if you’re trying to find out who the murderer is, you need to follow closely.

Midsomer Murders has been on the air since 1997 and is based on Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby book series. The TV series was originally adapted by Anthony Horowitz and as of 18 January 2017, 114 episodes have been broadcast, comprising 19 series. I recently saw Series 19 (Part 1) and I’m looking forward  to Part 2.

If you love mysteries and especially those that involve a murder, this is an excellent one to get you started. Not only will you see murder from the British point of view but you get to see beautiful landscapes in the case of Midsomer Murders! What’s not to like? ~~LMMolina

Summer Viewing

Since the summer recess started I’ve been watching a variety of movies. The Magnificent SevenPassengers, Hidden Figures, The Book of Life, and The Grand Budapest Hotel are just a few.   Not to mention the British and Australian series which I find highly entertaining: Rake, The Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley (this last one is still in process).

The action-packed remake of The Magnificent Seven is a must for those who love cowboy films. The casting is excellent and the one female role is a gutsy gal–not your typical damsel in distress. The gun-shooting scenes keep you on the edge of your seat! (PG13)

The story behind Passengers was something very unexpected. Can you imagine being stranded on a star ship?  The film also gives you a whole new take on the future of  space travel. What a ride! (PG13)

If ever there was a movie to inspire young women to study math and pursue a career in engineering,  Hidden Figures is THE film to watch. Truly inspirational! Loved it! (PG)

Everyone must write his own story is the message of The Book of Life.  It’s a beautiful film full of color and vibrant characters. Wonderful for the whole family! (PG)

An adult film abundant in dark humor, The Grand Budapest Hotel, takes you on a unique trip. It’s a period piece that includes a murder mystery (two of my favorite elements in a movie). (R)

Take your pick; there’s bound to be a film for you to watch in the comfort of your home. ~~LMMolina

Video Clip #20: “Mr. Mom”

Michael Keaton has been involved in drama films of late. But I remember his first films were in the genre of comedy. One of my favorites is his role in Mr. Mom (1983).  Directed by Stan Dragoti and written by John Hughes (of the Home Alone movies and The Breakfast Club), the film tells the story of a man who’s lost his job and assumes the role of a stay-at-home dad when his wife rejoins the work force. As a “mom,” he has no clue how to manage a home. It’s kind of silly at times, but that’s what makes it so funny.  In this scene, Keaton’s character becomes obsessed with daytime soap operas to the point where the house almost literally “falls apart”! It’s an old flick but an entertaining one for the entire family. ~~LMMolina

Movie Quote #20: “Groundhog Day”

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one yesterday.”

Bill Murray’s character (Phil Connors, a weatherman) in Groundhog Day (1993) makes this statement while trapped in a 24-hour cycle.  He takes advantage of this unusual situation. Makes you stop and wonder. What if this were possible? What would we do to right wrongs we’ve committed? Or maybe do just the opposite? Who knows how a person will act?

When I first watched this movie, I thought to myself: “This is weird! What a crazy idea for a movie!” But slowly it began to make sense. You’ve got to watch it several times to grasp the concept the director Harold Ramis was getting across to the audience.

It is a comedy and a fine one at that. The theme of time and how humans deal with it, never tires. ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #20: “War Horse”

As far as war movies go, I enjoyed this heart-warming story of a young man from Devon, England, (Albert) and his love for a horse (Joey) that is taken to war. We see the struggles of this fine animal through a 4-year war that leaves millions dead. What we see through this film is the use of horses to win a war through bitter ends.

The bucolic countryside we see contrast sharply with the scenes of the soldiers in trenches and the bitter fighting.  Some of the battles were epic and awe-inspiring!

When Albert as a wounded young soldier is reunited with Joey, we cannot help but feel moved. This is a story of love, patience, devotion and faithfulness among humans and horses.  It’s a film worth watching with the family. ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #19: “Spirited Away”

I watched this film for the first time with my students. I must admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The animation was unusually creative. I observed a lot of detail in the drawings.

If I were to compare this story to any others I’ve read or heard about, I think of Alice in Wonderland. We have many weird characters in a strange setting and a little girl trying to find her way back to the “normal” world with her family intact.

Several themes stand: hard work in life is necessary, family is important, greed is evil and a person must be true to oneself.  Themes that are traditional as they are enduring.

I have to hand it to the animator Hayao Miyazaki for a visually stunning piece of work! ~~LMMolina