Posts Tagged ‘advance screenings’

Heaven Is for Real

A few years ago, I read this book about a little boy who said he’d gone to heaven and the way he’d described it to his family.  I was amazed at the things I read.  Since then, I’d forgotten the details of the book.

This very good movie reminded me of the details, and once again made a believer out of me.

My only criticism is that the church congregation in the story seemed too perfect.  The church in Nebraska may really be the way it was portrayed in the film — everybody wore dress clothes on Sunday morning and most were attractive-looking (in fact, I kept finding myself eyeing up the mom-character, because she was so sexy).  Most were extremely nice folk, and even when they weren’t, they really weren’t that bad.

The cast of big-name stars like Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church distracted me a little, as I kept wondering whether these actors actually believed in what their characters were saying, or were each of their roles just another role?  The cast did a very good job, but I couldn’t help wondering if lesser-known (and physically plain) actors would have been less-distracting?

All in all, I liked the movie.  I did get the feeling it was geared to church-folk, but that was to be expected, as I don’t see many atheists attending, seeking answers to their burning question about whether heaven is for real.  The crowd seemed like a church crowd, considering the reactions I heard to some of the scenes.  The crowd seemed less cynical than I am.  Considering the innocent nature of the audience, I felt the security guards standing in the front of the auditorium during most of the advance screening, watching for illegal recording, was a little off-putting.  I understand piracy is a big problem, but sometimes the movie companies need to remember who their audiences are.  When the film is finally released next month, I’d recommend seeing it, then you can decide whether heaven is for real, or not (and what does heaven look like?).

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enough-said_001

I never watched James Gandolfini in the Sopranos, but I’ve enjoyed him in every movie role in which I’ve seen him.  Too bad he died so young — I’m about his age, and I feel young, in spite of what you youngsters in your 20’s and 30’s might think.  His character in Enough Said was totally believable, understated and funny.  His character was the perfect complement to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, the main character in the movie.  I enjoyed their conversations, and their inability to talk, sometimes.  Reminded me of the difficulties I’ve had in the past expressing my feelings.

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Recently I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the animated films I’ve seen.  I’ve found them formulaic, one-dimensional and not very funny (Planes).  So I was pleasantly surprised I enjoyed watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 this weekend.  The movie started out with a recap of the previous film, so anyone who hadn’t yet seen the first could understand why an island would be covered with giant food items.  In addition, the back story added new information which introduced the new characters in this film, who seemed to me to be a cartoon version of Steve Jobs and an assistant.

This movie wasn’t one-dimensional, in that the animation contained action in the background when the characters at stage front were saying their lines, and the humor in the film was aimed at both kids and adults.  But, the film wasn’t two-dimensional, either — it was 3D!  I know that’s nothing special these days, but the effects were fun to watch without an upcharge to my movie ticket (have I mentioned this was another free advance screening?).

My daughter said the movie was predictable because she was able to tell who the bad guy would be right away.  True, it wasn’t hard to figure that out, but I took pleasure in the many puns and slapstick humor, and the way the film skewered CEO’s and corporations.  I enjoyed the movie, overall, and feel other parents taking their kids to see it will find something to like, too.

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When I was a kid, I remember watching Formula One racing because I was a fan of Mario Andretti.  But, I was a kid, and aside from Mario, I didn’t know anything about the sport.  So this movie was educational, for me.  I had no idea who Niki Lauda and James Hunt were.  The movie was about a scientific, methodical driver and his rivalry with a fun-loving, hard-living driver.  The film was grainy and scenes chaotic, which fit the time period.  I liked it.

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Sometimes it pays to keep checking for freebies.  I’ve tried for the last couple of weeks, to get free passes to an advance screening of Pacific Rim.  Yesterday around 4:30, I received word from one of my usual sources, I could get some passes for a 7pm screening.  I acted quickly enough this time, unlike my three previous attempts to get passes.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the movie other than humans build big robots to fight big invading aliens.  I figured there’d be good fight scenes….

The movie reminded my of Space Troopers in that the movie’s story begins years into the epic war between the humans in aliens, so the main character narrates the scenes before the opening credits, catching us up to the movie’s present, which is just a few years from now.  Almost immediately, we’re thrown into the middle of a battle.  I saw the movie in a big-screen format, so I felt like I was RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!  I felt myself twitching and dodging in my seat, as if I were throwing the punches.  Now, it escapes me why the humans decided to build big robots instead of using the weapons we already have, since the robots really didn’t seem to have especially unusual weapons, themselves.  I’m sure that was explained, but I missed the explanation.

Then, the movie reminded me of The Matrix because the good guys fought by slipping into a shared consciousness with each other and the bad guys, and the home base and equipment were grungy.  Also, many of the ninja-fighting robot pilots had some sort of relationship between them.

Then, the movie reminded me of Independence Day, what with the invading aliens intent on colonizing earth and destroying all humans, and the way the humans decide to take the fight to the aliens.

Then, the movie reminded me of The Fifth Element in some spots.

Then, the movie reminded me of Scott Pilgrim VS the World, in that many scenes in this movie struck me as a live-action video game.

Then, I was reminded of Twelve Monkeys, because of the wacky scientists, who were the comic relief.  By the way, Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was one of the wacky scientists.  I really enjoyed his performance.

And, the movie reminded me of the old Japanese disaster/monster flicks I used to watch when I was a kid.  That impression was reinforced by the fact the monsters had Japanese names and the good guys were giant karate-champion robots.  In addition, the interaction between subordinate characters and their masters reminded me of Sumarai movies.

So, what I’m trying to say is this movie seemed very familiar.  The script wasn’t very original….

But OMG!  The fight scenes between the robots and aliens were awesome!  When I realized I was dodging blows and wriggling in my seat, I tried controlling my arms and legs and found I started clinching my teeth instead.  I figure the movie would be worth buying a ticket just because of the action and special effects.  Don’t go to this movie expecting enlightenment — go expecting an adrenaline rush.  This movie is anything but pacific.