Going In Style Movie Review

Going In Style

I saw Going In Style, the latest age-based comedy, and it wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great either though.

The comedy is about three guys, Joe, Bill, and Al, played by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin respectively, whose pension funds are cut by the bank that bought the steel factory they used to work for.

Struggling to pay their bills and angry at the bank, they decide to rob it to get back at the entity that screwed them over. They hope to use the money to enjoy their old age by spending it with their families instead of restarting their careers.

There’s a few jokes, but I wouldn’t exactly call the movie a comedy, more like a heist movie that’s masquerading as a comedy. Continue reading

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The Age of Adaline Movie Review

Another movie I saw with my wife! Can you tell who my favorite person to go to the movies with is?

Age of Adaline tells the story of a woman who acquires immortality during a car accident. The movie has a pseudoscience explanation for how she becomes immortal that my wife and I laughed at.

Adaline was born in 1908. The movie hops around a little bit, but most of the story takes place in 2015.

Adaline fell in love and had a family back in the day. She obviously outlives her husband, but her daughter remains a character throughout the movie, aging into a granny by 2015.

At some point the FBI figure out that Adaline is immortal and they move to arrest her because she’s suspected of communism or something (this part wasn’t clear to me).

Adaline goes on the run. Every ten years she changes her name and moves to a new place, keeping the same youthful appearance of Blake Lively wherever she goes.

In 2015 Adaline falls in love with Ellis, a rich socialite who spends his time learning about the local history of San Francisco, something Adaline is intimately familiar with.

I suppose the viewer is meant to feel that the love between Adaline and Ellis is something wonderful and worth preserving, but frankly it feels creepy.

First of all, Ellis pursues her in the most stalker-like fashion possible. She sternly tells him she’s not interested at a party. Next he shows up at her work and hits on her there. They go on a date and then she calls it off. After that he figures out where she lives and waits for her outside her apartment.

Like I said, I think the audience is supposed to feel that his love is earnest, but he seems more like a rich boy who can’t have what he wants and starts freaking out about it. A normal person would start considering a restraining order at this point.

Of course Adaline doesn’t do that, she takes him back and agrees to go on a weekend trip to his parents’ house!

When she meets Ellis’s parents Adaline discovers that she used to date his dad after her husband died and was considering marrying him. The plot ensues and I don’t want to ruin the rest of it for you if you plan on seeing it.

The romance of the movie is terrible. There’s the issue with Ellis being a stalker, but the additional problem of Adaline being a little bit of a cougar. After all she is dating someone who is a quarter of her age.

That said, the science fiction parts of the story are interesting. How does an immortal person’s life work amongst mortals? Is she still sad when her pets die? How do friendships work for her? What does she do with all her time? Does she “retire” every couple of years or keep working? Those are all interesting questions that the movie answers well without even focusing on them.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie in theaters, but if you like little science fiction stories about immortality (I do!) then I’d recommend renting Age of Adaline once it comes out on DVD.

-GoCorral

Kingsman Movie Review

The day after my in-laws helped me moved in was my birthday. Wheee!

We were still moving in so we didn’t do anything super fancy.

My wife and I went out to eat for breakfast. Not like we had another option because we hadn’t moved the food over from the old apartment yet…

The breakfast restaurant was Italian themed and is rapidly becoming our favorite restaurant in Davis. It’s called Cafe Italia if anyone is interested in going.

After breakfast we unpacked more stuff. My one birthday event was going to a movie that I got to pick. I chose Kingsman (as if the title of this post and the picture weren’t enough clues for you to figure that out already).

The movie was pretty awesome, filled with action scenes and callouts to other spy movies.

The plot follows Eggsy, the son of a man killed while working for the mysterious Kingsman.

The Kingsman are a secret spy organization working independently of other intelligence agencies to keep the world safe from evil people. They’re a small group and everyone is named after people from the King Arthur stories. The leader is King Arthur, the person filling Q’s role from the Bond films is named Merlin, Eggsy’s mentor is named Galahad, etc.

I love the King Arthur stuff and it’s coupled with the agents being chivalrous and knightly in their mannerisms.

Eggsy’s initial selection is a lot of fun. Bar fights, car chases, evil step-fathers. Awesome stuff! Some of it you’ve already seen in the trailer if you watched the trailer. Go watch the trailer!

After he joins the training program the movie slows down a bit. Eggsy’s mentor, played by Colin Firth, investigates the villain’s plan to kill half the Earth’s population, while Eggsy goes through a series of unusual training exercises.

The concept of the training exercises is fun. One of them is six people sky diving and after they’ve jumped Merlin informs them that only one of them has a parachute. Unfortunately, the training sequences just aren’t as fun as the car chases and bar fights in the first half hour.

The movie heats up when Eggsy finally takes on the villain with help from the other Kingsman. I don’t want to give too much away from that part of the movie though.

I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a solid action movie and my wife said it was even a little bit thought provoking.

And it’s just barely still in theaters as I’ve been dragging my feet about making blog posts. Quick! Go see it!

-GoCorral

Paddington Movie Review

I saw the movie Paddington with my wife last weekend.

The movie is based off the Paddington Bear book series. I read a few of the books when I was a kid but remember almost nothing about them.

What I do remember is the visual appearance of Paddington and his unflagging politeness. I remember the books being similar to Stuart Little, but British instead of American. I also remember Paddington being a teddy bear in the books, but that’s wrong. He’s an unusual bear species from “darkest Peru.”

The movie starts off with old black and white news reel describing Paddington’s home in Peru. Soon Paddington must leave his home and travel to London where he plans to be adopted by waiting at a railroad station.

Our little hero stows away in a lifeboat aboard a cargo ship headed to London. He survives by bringing along an enormous supply of orange marmalade which we are a told “has all the daily vitamins and minerals a bear needs.”

Paddington meets the Brown family at the Paddington station in London. He goes to live with them until they can find the explorer who previously visited his family in “darkest Peru.” It’s no surprise that by the end of the movie Paddington has become part of the Brown’s family.

I wouldn’t want to give more away about the movie, but it struck me as extremely British.  There’s a flashback where the explorer is describing how civilized the bears in “darkest Peru” are. The people he’s talking to respond by saying, “Civilized? Surely they don’t play cricket?” I’m paraphrasing, but that is what the movie is like.

The movie is a fun family experience. Although I’ve read some of the Paddington books, I can’t say if a true fan of the books would enjoy the movie or not. I can say that if you liked Stuart Little then you will like Paddington. A talking animal is accepted into a classical nuclear family in both books/movies. What more do you really need to know? Just that description tells you what the movie will be about. It has a few jokes, but is mostly about the warm fuzzy feelings you get from the tender moments in the movie. And having something you can watch with children.

That’s all for today!

-Mister Ed

Jordan Davis Case

One of my friends posted this on Facebook today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/02/17/no-justice-for-jordan-davis-more-worry-for-parents-of-black-children/

I found it pretty interesting. I followed the Trayvon Martin case and this one is very similar. A young black teenager is killed in supposed self defense. The court system supposedly commits errors. And the accused walks away.

Of course both cases are more complex than that. In the Martin/Zimmerman case the justice system did commit errors. The police checked Martin’s body for signs of drug use, but conducted no such tests for Zimmerman. The police also let Zimmerman walk free for a month after the killing based only on his own word that it was in self defense. The police most likely did this because Martin was black and Zimmerman was not.

I do believe the correct verdict was reached in the Martin/Zimmerman case. The physical evidence reported clearly shows that Zimmerman was attacked. Zimmerman had several injuries while Martin had one. Zimmerman stated that Martin saw Zimmerman’s gun and that Martin then said, “I’m going to kill you.” If that was true, then stand your ground laws would certainly apply. The incident would not have happened if Zimmerman had not profiled Martin as a troublemaker, but that doesn’t excuse Martin’s decision to attack Zimmerman and threaten to kill him.

The Jordan Davis case suffers from the same problem of racially profiling the deceased. Dunn clearly saw Davis and his friends as “thugs” because of their race.

Let’s talk about the word “thug” for a minute. I haven’t experienced the word’s usage myself that much in my sheltered suburban life, but it is beginning to have the same racial connotations as nigger. When used in an offensive way thug will almost always mean a young black man who is making too much noise, carrying a weapon, selling drugs, etc. Any crime in a neighborhood will be explained away, “Oh, the thugs did it.” Meaning that the young black men did it.

So when Dunn calls Davis and his friends thugs, he’s already setting himself up as the committer of a hate crime. Davis and his friends were playing loud rap music at a convenience store. Dunn got out of his car and told them to turn it down. A reasonable enough request. They did and he went in to shop. Upon coming out they turned the music back up, presumable thinking he wouldn’t mind as he was leaving. He told them to turn it down again and they refused.

This is where the witness reports conflict. Dunn said that he saw a shotgun stick out the window of Davis’ car. No one else saw that. None of Davis’ friends saw that. Dunn’s wife didn’t see that. No one in the convenience store saw that. No shotgun was found in the car and none of the Davis’ friends owned one that mysteriously went missing. Dunn reacted to the imaginary shotgun by grabbing his pistol from his glovebox and firing on the teens before driving away. Davis was killed and his three friends drove away fearing for their lives. Dunn turned himself into the police soon afterward.

The trial just concluded and Dunn was found guilty of attempted second degree murder for Davis’ three friends. A mistrial was declared on a first degree murder charge for the killing of Davis. In order to deliver a verdict in a murder case, the jury must be unanimous, but they apparently weren’t for the murder of Davis. This isn’t particularly unusual. I imagine that it is very stressful to decide cases of life and death as a juror. The prosecution is appealing the case.

My personal opinion, Dunn is not guilty of first degree murder. He’s guilty of second degree murder. First degree murder is premeditated. Second degree murder is committed in the moment. The state views first degree murder as worse because most people will not choose to kill someone after thinking about it.

Did Dunn think about killing Davis? I seriously doubt that. Additional evidence makes it clear that Dunn hated black people, but he no evidence suggests that he went to that convenience store with the intent of killing someone. He went there to get some wine and chips. I hope the appeal court decides Dunn is guilty of second degree murder as that appears to be the truth to me.

The Davis/Dunn case is a great example of how complicated our justice system can get. More importantly, its an example of how racist my country continues to be.

-Mister Ed