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

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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

Movie Review #18: “Beauty and the Beast”

I must admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard that a new version of Beauty and the Beast was coming out in March of 2017. When I told my students that we were going to the theater to view the movie, I got mixed reactions, especially from the males! However, we were all pleasantly surprised! Overall, both of my Movies and Films sections enjoyed this latest edition.

This version exceeded my expectations. I thought the film was colorful, moving and had more action than I expected. The singing and acting were a delight!

This film will definitely be added to my video library and be a part of my course for next year. It is one I highly recommend for all ages. ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #17: “Walking with Dinosaurs”

Telepathic dinosaurs? That’s one person’s view. The images and sounds (apart from the talking) I thought were unique.  It was definitely an educational film. I learned facts that I was not familiar with. It’s been classified as a family film but there were some parts that might not be appropriate for little ones. But who knows? Maybe they’re used to seeing scary creatures from the past. ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #16: “Casablanca”

A story of two people who fall in love and are torn apart by a war. Sound familiar? Maybe. But these lovers are a bit different. Our hero Rick is somewhat bitter and cynical but when he sees his former lover, Ilsa, his world changes and he along with it. Ilsa struggles with her emotions as she tries to convince Rick that her feelings towards him have not changed even though she is married. We are kept in suspense throughout the film and are surprised by the turn of events at the end.

Both actors give a superb performance and we understand why this film won best picture for 1943. It will always remain a true classic! ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #15: “Driving Miss Daisy”

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I’ve always been a fan of both Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Their work is exceptional and in this film their performance is outstanding. I never tire of watching it and as I grow older, I feel more emotionally involved with the characters. I suppose anyone can relate to the issues in some way or another. That’s a good director’s purpose, to get the audience to feel the character’s emotions.  This film was directed by Bruce Beresford who, in my opinion, was able to get these two wonderful actors to outdo themselves. Dan Aykroyd’s performance as Miss Daisy’s son was also top-notch!

With so  many films focusing on action, it’s nice to watch a film in which we get the “action” from just watching the main characters interact with one another through eye-contact and body gestures. Don’t you agree? ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #14: “Brother Bear”

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If you’re ever in the mood to learn a life lesson, this movie might be your ticket. A touching film that teaches you to look at life through the eyes of a bear. Who are the monsters in this movie, the bears or the humans?

I was moved by some of the scenes, especially when Koda finds out the truth about his mom. I also thought Phil Collins did a beautiful job with the songwriting. The comedic parts featuring the moose Rutt and Tuke were hilarious! All in all, the film made for enjoyable viewing and I warmly recommend it.

The following excerpt is from a review by Stephen Holden “To a Grizzly, Humans are the Hairy Monsters” (Published: October 24, 2003 http://www.nytimes.com/)

The potpourri of myth and fantasy is swirled into a vague, all-purpose pop sermon whose message of restraint and empathy with all creatures great and small evokes everything from practicing the golden rule and following the Ten Commandments to supporting animal rights. 

Sounds like Holden wasn’t to enthusiastic about this film. What do you think? Do you agree? ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #13: Popeye the Movie

Image result for quotes from the movie Popeye

The film has received a number of good reviews. The characters are amusing, the costumes are colorful and the setting a dream. It’s a place you might consider for a vacation destination.

However, some of the acting is poor and the singing, well, let’s say that these actors could have used some lessons.

I do recommend the film because of it’s slapstick comedy and Robin Williams does a fantastic imitation of the cartoon character. Shelly Duvall is the perfect Olive Oyle and Swee’pea is adorable! ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #12: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

One of the parts of the movie that I thought was uniquely handled was the concept of time. I’m fascinated by the huge clock! Hermione and Harry traveled back in time to save both a human and an animal life.  Time and its consequences has always been a favorite topic in many films and this one is no exception.

Other special effects that were noteworthy include Harry’s fight with the Dementors and professor Remus Lupin’s transformation into a werewolf.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been and will always remain one of my favorite HP films. ~~LMMolina

Movie Review #11: “Temple Grandin”

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                Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

The film Temple Grandin is based on the life of the woman with the same name. I thought Claire Danes did a fabulous job portraying the autistic Temple. This kind of role is a challenging one for any actor. She must have observed Temple Grandin closely to fine tune her quirks and mannerisms. She also must have interviewed her to get  a feeling of her emotions and ideas about animals. One of my favorite scenes is when Claire as Temple asks the eternally deep question about death: “Where do they go?” She asks this question twice: after the death of the horse Chestnut and the sudden death of her mentor Dr. Carlock.  Her mother gave her an honest answer: “I don’t know.” Whether Temple was satisfied with that answer, I really couldn’t tell. Could you?

Temple Grandin is the type of movie we can watch several times and always learn something new. I highly recommend it! ~~LMMolina