Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Thoughts of a Movie Insomniac. Issue #13.

Hello to everyone who still reads these posts and this site.

I was lucky enough to see a few movies at the theater because my internet stopped working last Sunday while I was writing a new review for my Video Vortex site.  After I finished it up at my local library.  I decided to catch a feature at the theater across the street.  Movies there start at $2.50 so I ended up staying for a full day and caught three features.  I feel bad because I did say I would review the new "RoboCop" after I looked back at the original trilogy.  I know that movie will come there soon.  Plus from what I've read.  It's not one I need to see right away.    However, Here is what I have seen so far.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

After she won the last "Hunger Games"  Katniss and Peta face trouble by the president who wants to kill her for starting a rebellion by the other districts  I was not a big fan of the first movie.  Not because of the comparisons to "Battle Royale"  Both movies have a similar themes of kids killing kids in an out door arena but both are still very different.  I just never found Katniss to be an interesting character so her journey never resonated anything in me.  This sequel however changed all that and it is a lot more intense then I thought it would be. Jennifer Lawrence (read my tribute to her by clicking the link) is a lot better in this since her Oscar win and you have the extra added bonus of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman in it too.(check out As You Watch's tribute by clicking on his name)


This insightful documentary chronicles the captivity of Killer Whales and the cover up of many trainers deaths at SeaWorld  I have never been there because having big fish splash me with water never appealed to me.  The ads that this place wants to represent is one where these animals are cared for. Yet, how can you care for a mammal when you put her into a small pool.  The saddest part was when one of the babies got taken away from it's mother to be put into a different park.  I got so angry I wanted SeaWorld to get a call from Liam Neeson's character in "Taken".  Then the last half of the movie is him freeing whales and shooting people. Hell yeah.

Lady Killer

James Cagney plays a small time con artist who joins a group of others and starts rising to the top.  After he gets busted for a job, he becomes an extra on a movie set  and starts becoming popular there too.  Problems start happening when his old crew mates arrive and wants a piece of his pie too.  This was my first time seeing Cagney in a comedic performance and he is really good.  His character is still the same tough guy from movies like "The Public Enemy"(click link to read full review) but he also has this aura of charm about him too.  They way the story changes around, also kept my interest.

Saving Mr. Banks.

Walt Disney spent over twenty years to earn the rights to get P.L. Travers' character "Mary Poppins" to the big screen.  Now that is what I call commitment people.   The movie chronicles the meeting between these two people and how they were able to meet a compromise.  It really doesn't matter if you have never seen "Mary Poppins" before because it never goes too much into the actual story besides just the songs.  Emma Thompson is great as Travers.  She is very difficult to like at first but you don't hate her one bit.  Tom Hanks was great as Walt and his next job should be working at the parks as him.  I also would give praise to BJ Novak and Jason Schwatzmen as Robert and Richard Sherman(the song writers) and Paul Giamatti as P.L. Travers' driver.  It's a great movie about Walt's drive and passion to make a good movie and P.L.'s determination to not have her creation get ruined.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty spends his many of his days dreaming about having a more exciting life.  Then one day he decides to stop day dreaming and have an adventure of his own.  I had so many problems with this movie that it's hard to begin with just one.  I guess the biggest travesty is that it was just boreing. Not one moment did I care once about Walter's adventures or that he wanted to have one in the first place.   The main reason he even goes on this trip is to try and get this photo back so he can keep his job.  A job that he basically hates and if he does love it.  Why is he always dreaming of something better.  It's good that he actually got out and started doing things for a change but he was still trying to save a job that he hated and would be let go from soon.  Ben Stiller is a good actor and has proven to be a good director, but this movie felt more like a mid life crises rather then an actual film.

Bates Motel.

Just finished the first season of Bates Motel and it was really good.   It got me hooked right away and I ended up watching  the whole season in just one day(it's only ten episodes)   The whole series takes place before the events of "Psycho" but I would not consider it to be quite a prequel to Hitchcock's original thriller.  It does have a few references to it, but they are subtle and they don't beat you over the head with them(No pun intended).  Freddie Highmore is fantastic as the young Norman Bates and he has the same mannerisms that Anthony Perkins had.  He is very innocent and nice but also extremely unstable.   In the role of the mother, Vera Farmiga  shows us a character who wants very much to have a perfect family and be in control.  But it becomes very clear that she is not.  It has good supporting characters and I'm very interested to see what happens in the second season.

Frances Ha.

Greta Gerwig plays a woman with no real drive or ambition at first and while that may bug me.  I found this to be an extremely charming and uplifting portrait of the times when we are at a cross roads in our lives.  It doesn't have much of a narrative but it's still worth a watch just for Gerwig's performance alone.

Well that is it for what I have seen this week.  What have you seen?  Do you have any recommendations.  Leave them in the comment box below.  Thanks for reading.


  1. That's a very eclectic selection of movies, Vern. More importantly, though, I'm glad to see someone else digging on Bates Motel. I've been a little surprised by how little attention it's gotten from the purely horror oriented blogs. Maybe they have their panties in a twist because they see it as a desecration of one of horror's most iconic properties. I just like it because it's one of those rare programs where the end of each episode leaves me anxious for the next. I'm really looking forward to the second season.

  2. I like what Bates Motel does with those characters and it's great how they hint at certain traits of theirs. You understand a little bit more of what makes Norman tick, and I love getting to know Norma better. You are right on how each show ends just makes you more excited to see the next one. Thanks for reading

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