“This is Where I Leave You” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review (Life is Complicated)

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Judd Altman (wonderfully played by Jason Bateman) surprises his wife with a birthday cake. Because life is complicated, he was the one surprised when he caught his boss and wife screwing in the bedroom. So much for that marriage….and job.

this is where i leave youA short time later, his sister, Wendy calls with news of their father’s death. Not a good year for Judd….

When the family gathers for Dad’s funeral, the mother, Hilary (Jane Fonda) announces that dear old atheist-Jewish dad wanted the family to sit in Shiva for the required 7 days. After complaining, they did, and what happens in that 7 day period is the basis of this much better than expected movie.

While sitting Shiva, “This is Where I Leave You” explores the trials and tribulations of each of the family members. Judd is leaving his cheating wife and reconnects with an old love, Penny (Rose Byrne). Wendy is in an unhappy marriage and still loves her injured ex-boyfriend, neighbor Horry (Timothy Olyphant).  Hilary misses her husbands gargantuan penis, but, has a secret and a new set of boobs. Philip (played marvelously by Adam Driver) is the carefree, goofy loser, while Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife can’t conceive.

We were the only ones who laughed–I guess growing up in NY has it’s advantages–at this line delivered by Fey as she questions the validity of this 7 day adventure: “We are sitting Shiva where we put the Christmas tree”. Classic !

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“The November Man” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Bloody Good Thriller)

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the november manEx-CIA operative, Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is enjoying retirement when his old CIA handler, Hanley (Bill Smirovich) shows up telling him he has been requested to extract an old friend, Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), from her undercover assignment. Natalia has information the CIA needs to control soon-to-be President of Russia, Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), but she won’t give that information until she is safe.

Devereaux successfully grabs Natalia and while they are driving she gives him the information the CIA needs, which, unfortunately, made her expendable. Devereaux’s ex-student, Mason (Luke Bracey), is ordered to kill Natalia, and does so. Problem is, that pisses off Devereaux (he loved Natalia) and he kills the entire CIA hit team…except his old friend and student.

Devereaux is put on the CIA hit list to stop him from going after everyone involved in Natalia’s death, and Mason is tasked with his killing.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller that is violent, bloody, and intriguing.

Pierce Brosnan and Luke Bracey are both terrific. “The November Man” is a much better movie than the “critics” seem to think. Again, I think they only watch the trailers, or go into the movie with their minds set based on an early review that they read. They are doing a dis-service to this movie (and others that they do this to) because “The November Man” is a taught, well laid out, thriller with surprising twists and turns. Edge of your seat action at it’s best.

“The November Man” is not for kids or the squeamish as there are sex scenes, boobs, and lots of gushing blood as the body count increases at a rapid pace (not as much as Game of Thrones, but, close). The guard on duty at the theater pulled a couple of youngsters out…I waved goodbye to them as they were leaving.  :-)

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Chef” Movie Review

4.5-Watertowers(Follow Your Heart…..and Twitter)

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chef

Fantastic movie that teaches you to follow your heart, no matter what. Scarlett Johnasson, Jon Favreau & others sparkle. Heartwarming movie.

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Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA Cinemark.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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NOTE:  Count the characters in the main body of the review.  ;-)

 

 

“The Giver” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Memorable)

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Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is different.

the giverIn a world of sameness (as depicted by the “Pleasantville” black and white), equality, and order, Jonas is not afraid to question, not afraid to take a chance.

When the 12 year olds (according to the book, in the move he is older) are ready to receive their life work assignments, Jonas’ number is skipped.  WTF?

Jonas, standing alone, is given a special assignment, one that his personality is suited for (the powers to be find out just how suited he is):  That of the keeper of the memories.

Jeff Bridges (The Giver) is the current keeper of the memories.  He had a disastrous internship several years ago when his apprentice (Taylor Swift as Rosemary) and daughter stepped outside of the boundaries of decorum and was executed. (I see a song here?)

Jonas starts his internship and gradually starts to understand just how controlled and banal his, and everyone elses, life is.  He starts to see colors and he stops the morning injections which take away so much….life.

The Giver is on a mission, and he is lucky to have Jonas fall in his lap. The world is about to change.

“The Giver” is an excellent movie with an excellent cast.  No f-words, but, interestingly disturbing life control issues.  Jeff Bridges has had the rights to this for 20 or so years and wanted his dad, Lloyd, to play The Giver. I am so glad Jeff aged into the role as he is perfect. And Meryl Streep is in it.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The Hundred-Foot Journey” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Delicious)

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After tragedy strikes in India, a family of restaurateurs decide to start a new life in Europe. A short stay in London does not work out, so the Kadam family (led by Papa, played by Om Puri) get in their van and search for the perfect spot somewhere in Europe.

the hundred foot journeyWeeks later, somewhere in France, the van’s brakes fail and they crash.

Luckily, a local resident, Marguerite (played by Charlotte Le Bon) happens by and helps the family tow their van into town and feeds them French cuisine. On the way into town they pass an abandoned restaurant 100 feet across the street from a Michelin One Star restaurant. Papa decides that the abandoned building is perfect for their new life.

Only one problem, the owner of the fancy French restaurant, Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren) is NOT happy with having a classless Indian restaurant 100 feet away from her award winning restaurant, and she organizes roadblocks to their success. Luckily, Papa is equally as tough and arranges a few roadblocks of his own…..for her.

The Kadam family cook (he does not call himself a chef), Hassan (played by Manish Dayal), happens to be an outstandingly talented chef and his talents show the instant Papa’s restaurant opens.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is an excellent, heartwarming, movie. The cast is wonderful, the pace is slow but interesting, and the characters are fully formed. There are no f-words that I remember and it would be good for the entire family except for the fact that WE WERE the YOUNGEST people in the audience, so I suspect the attracted demographic for this movie are senior citizens.

So much for additional buzz via social media, haha.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

(NEW logo by Inyoung Hong, our 2014 Scholarship winner)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Galactic Adventure)

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A thief (Peter Quill played by Chris Platt), two thugs (Groot and Rocket voiced by Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), an assassin (Gamora played by Zoe Saldana), and a maniac (Drax played by Dave Bautista)” team up to try to save 12 billion people from extinction at the hands of evil ruler Ronan (Lee Pace).

guardiansPeter Quill is hired to steal an orb for a client. He does that, but, once the client finds out that Ronan wants it, he decides that Quill can keep it and shoves him out the door. Outside, Quill is attacked by Gamora who steals the orb for her buyer and both of them are chased by bounty hunters, Groot (“I am Groot”) and Rocket (the racoon).

They are all captured and put in prison, where they promptly stage an escape.

When they are out of prison a battle ensues and Ronan takes the orb becoming the most powerful individual in the galaxy and vowing to kill 12 billion people.

Quill and his team of “losers” are all that stand between Ronan and his goal. Will they succeed?

“Guardians of the Galaxy”  is a fantastic galactic adventure with lots of laughs and tons of action. The cast is excellent and the computer generated Groot and Rocket are amazingly life-like (well, as lifelike as a tree can be). The colors are vibrant and the space battles terrifically done.

I am hooked and cannot wait for the next Guardians movie. A pure winner…..a Marvel of movie making.

Stay all the way thru the credits and you will be rewarded with a funny clip.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this with a packed house at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“Lucy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Transformative, Scarlett Johansson)

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Lucy is the name of the oldest known hominid female who bones were found in Ethiopia in 1973.  Go to WikiPedia for more information.

LucyFast forward, 3.2 million years or so, and Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) is about to become the first human to access 100% of her brain; with all the transformative powers that could possibly come with that.

When her American boyfriend in Taiwan asks Lucy to deliver an attache case to a Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) in a Taipei Hotel, Lucy witnesses the murder of her boyfriend and is forced into employment as a courier for a new drug that Mr. Jang believes will take Europe by storm.

The Jang gang sews a package of the drug inside Lucy’s abdomen and sends her on her way. Lucy (totally unexplained in the movie) ends up being held in a prison like situation and is kicked in the gut by some lowlife. This kick opens the package of drugs and Lucy experiences a number of interesting transformations, two of which are becoming extremely intelligent and increasingly powerful.

We find out—from cuts to a brain researcher, Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman, giving a talk—that humans only access about 10% of their brain. He asks the question: “What would happen if we could access 100% of our brain?”.  Then proposes some theories; including being able to control others and the person’s surroundings.

As Lucy accesses more and more of her brain, her capabilities grow, and we learn that Professor Norman is on the right track with his theories. During this process, Johansson’s character becomes more and more intellectually aloof to her plight, and Johansson plays that aloofness with perfection.

“Lucy” is a unique, interesting, enjoyable, action science fiction movie.  It is rated R mostly for bloody violence (not gory, just bloody). There were a few f-words, but, it is definitely NOT for kids (one set of incompetent parents brought in younger kids).

Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, and Amr Waked (as Detective Pierre Del Rio) are all excellent. We, the audience, root for the good guys and cheer when the bad guys meet their demise.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“Tammy” Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Goofball Comedy with a Message)

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“Tammy” was universally panned by the “critics”. We have learned NOT to listen to them and to judge a movie (the whole movie not a poorly made trailer) on it’s own merits and see if it meets our requirement of giving us 2 hours, or so, of away time from reality. “Tammy” more than meets our requirement. The hyper-critical critics should actually go see the movie and Warner Brothers should put up a trailer that depicts the entire movie not just one scene. I chose the trailer above after searching for one that actually goes beyond that one scene.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy, 43 years old) is a “loser”. She loses her job for being late yet again (she hit a deer with her car this time). When she gets home (walking since her car stopped running) she finds her husband eating a nice dinner (that he prepared, he never prepares dinner) with another woman (Toni Collette).

tammyTammy’s life consists of setback, after setback, after setback.  She does not even know who Mark Twain is.

Leaving her cheating husband, she arrives at her mothers (Allison Janney, 54 years old) house (two houses away from hers) and announces that she is going to leave….she just needs a car. Her alcoholic, diabetic, Grandmother (Susan Sarandon, 67 years old) overhears the conversation and declares that she and her grand-daughter will take a road trip to Niagara Falls.

The process of getting to Niagara Falls is long and arduous and funny and, at times, poignant. Yes, poignant….this is not just the movie shown in the poorly made trailers….it is deeper than that, with McCarthy’s goofball comedy as the veneer showing us that underneath the goofiness, yes, life can be difficult, but, with the right attitude, and perseverance, you can find happiness.

An outstanding supporting cast some mentioned above, also with Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh (who absolutely lights up the screen in her brief appearances) makes Tammy a more than decent movie. You won’t see any Oscars, but, if you take the time to watch the movie (not just the stupid trailers) and think about it….you will come away hopeful and impressed…….and you will laugh, and cry, along the way.

Lots of F-words, not for kids and not for the uppity critics who can’t think beyond their nose (or trailer).

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy and Bobby)

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“Visiting China” by Thomas Alexander

On this blog post I will copy my lifelong (he is three months older than I) friend’s recent trip to China with his daughter, Marty.  I thought it was FASCINATING and wanted to preserve the experience FOREVER instead of it just being on Facebook (which we all know, goes away very quickly and you can’t search….).

Soooooooooo, BOOKMARK this page and visit often as it will take me awhile (a week or two) to grab, copy, and paste “Tom’s Great Adventure to China” in it’s entirety here on ForCarol.com.

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June 26, 2014

Gone are the days when I would throw some clothes, a toothbrush and razor in a bag and be packed……now it’s chargers for the phone, laptop, notebook and cameras; back-up batteries; portable hard drives, flash cards, memory sticks; USB cables, patch cables, card readers; transformers, inverters & A-daptors….oh yeah -and meds, contacts & supplies, reading glasses, back-up reading glasses, and back-up back-up reading glasses Have I forgotten anything?

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June 26, 2014

And the adventure begins…. — at Boston Logan International Airport.

June 26, 2014

Listening to The Traveling Wilburys on the internet going 568 mph @ 32000 ft above the Chukchi Sea. That’s pretty cool….

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June 27, 2014

A little weary, but made it. Hooked up with Marty at airport — at Harbour Plaza Metropolis.

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June 28, 2014

Heading up to Beijing….Marty just told me fb is censored/blocked in China….it’s the little things in life ( like freedom of speech) that count …so I guess I’m going into radio silence here for a few weeks (unless I can out-maneuver them technologically!). Thanks for all the interest/support in our trip…see you on the other side!!!! — at Hong Kong International Airport.

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June 29 2014

We are blown away. Beautiful airport. Sailed through Immigration, got baggage quickly, sailed through Customs. As we left Customs there was an information desk. No queue. So we stopped and asked if our hotel had a shuttle. Lady spoke good English, told us no, we’d need a taxi. We asked her where to catch the taxi, and she said she could order, it would be. 300 RMB, and be there in 5 minutes. We said great, order it, and while we are waiting I’d hit the ATM (right next to info booth) cause we had no yuan. She said not necessary – I could pay her with a credit card!! I did, and she had a co-worker WALK us to the taxi. We are on our way to the hotel, and I am dumb-founded….. btw….The worst airport experience of this trip so far was my departure from Logan….total chaos at 5 am…

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June 29, 2014

A typical Chinese snack…cucumbers and chili sauce and rabe with peanuts. God help me!

marty eating chinese food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 29, 2014

bobsled great wall

Bobsled Down The Great Wall of China (<—–click to see the video)
So Marty and I visited The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu today, and it was everything we hoped it would be, and a little bit more……looking at the web site, we knew that we would have an option to take a chairlift up, which we did, and was the right choice, because hiking the steps on the wall itself was a formidable task. The surprise, though, was that we had the option to ride a self-driven mechanical bobsled down a chute to get back down! Who’d-a-thunk they would take one of the Eight Wonders of the World and turn it into an amusement park ride? The rules were simple….ride it at your own risk, and if you crash into the sled in front of you, it’s your fault, and you pay for injuries and damage…….If I had known, I would have brought the GoPro…..but I did get some video film a guy coming down while we were going up….and it was a bit of fun coming down….— at The Great Wall Of China at Mutianyu.
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June 30, 2014
great wall
Monks gotta’ have some fun too! Saw a couple of Buddhist monks taking selfies and pictures of themselves with an iPhone on The Great Wall of China today….we thought that was pretty funny… — in Beijing, China.
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June 30, 2014
pull tab
Haven’t seen pull tabs in at least 30 years. Still used in China. Guess they don’t listen to Buffet over here…
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July 1, 2014
tomato and egg
Lunch – Tomato & egg, and rice. And beer.

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July 1, 2014

village

Chinese farming village about 75 miles south of the northern border…

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July 2, 2014

We’ve made it to the Land of the Blue Sky……the train trip was a great change of pace, scenic & relaxing, and Mongolia is just beautiful and unique… — at Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia.

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July 2, 2014

erlian china

Arrival Erlian (<—–click to see the video)
The train ride from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar requires a 3 hour layover in the Chinese border town of Erlian to go through Customs; and because the Mongolian tracks are a different gauge than the Chinese tracks, and they actually have to take the train into a maintenance shed and change the bogies out and switch it to the Mongolian track….this video is of our arrival in Erlian, and it’s the first time on this trip that I felt that I was in Communist China…….I was wondering if we were all going to have to get off and march around for three hours. Marty says they do this Party rah-rah type stuff all the time in the smaller towns…..

 — at Erlian, China.

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Much more coming soon….I’m tired!  haha

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“Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” Movie Review

5-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews College Scholarships(SPECTACULAR, Hail Caesar, Hail Serkis)

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The human population has been decimated by the simian virus. Very few remain.

dawn of the planet of the apes10 years after Caesar (Andy Serkis) organized the apes and colonized in Muir Woods north of San Francisco, the apes are living a peaceful life and thriving. It has been 2 years since they last saw a human.

One day, humans and apes meet again and the human shoots one of the apes. Caesar, and many apes, descend on the scene and Caesar tells the humans to “Go!”.  They do, but, Caesar has them followed.

What the apes learn is that a human colony of disease resistant survivors are living in San Francisco led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman).  Dreyfus is ready to fight the apes, but, does show some restraint, at least initially. The humans are running out of power and have picked an old dam that might provide power to the colony. Unfortunately, the dam is near the apes new home. Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a Doctor, Ellie (Kerri Russell) and a few other humans try to make peace with the apes so they can repair the dam. Two individuals, however, are not so peaceful:  Koba (an ape played by Toby Kebbell) and Carver (a human played by Kirk Acevedo) hate the other species and, basically, ruin everything.

War starts.

“Dawn of the Apes” is a spectacular movie in every way. Spectacular special effects, spectacular acting by Andy Serkis, spectacular supporting ape cast, spectacular stunts, and a spectacular story on how the “Planet of the Apes” evolved. Very tense. The violence may be a bit too much for little kids.  No f-words. Koba on a horse with guns blazing is epic.

Go to IMDb for more information. We watched this at the Tracy,CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ Movie Review

4.5-Watertowers(Wonderful)

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Five years after the events in the last movie…..the people of Berk and the dragons are living in harmony.

how to train your dragon 2Instead of participating in the dragon races, Toothless and Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) are exploring, and mapping, the surrounding area…..something that until dragons and humans learned to get along was nearly impossible to accomplish.

One day while exploring they are attacked by dragon kidnappers who bring the captured Dragons to the evil Drago (voiced by Djimon Hounsou). They escape but learn that Drago is planning to attack Berk and, with the evil Alpha Dragon under his control, control all the dragons in the realm.

Toothless and Hiccup are flying along after escaping Drago’s bounty hunters when they are overtaken by another dragon and pilot (for lack of a better word) and end up in a wonderous land of dragons run by a good Alpha Dragon and Hiccup’s long lost Mother, Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett).

“How to Train your Dragon 2″ is a wonderful “good vs evil” movie covering the full range of emotions before the ending.  Fine for the whole family, but, be warned that deaths do occur. The computer graphics are spectacular.

Overall, a great sequel, that, in my opinion, is better than the first.

We recently watched “How to Train Your Dragon” on VUDU.

 

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“Transformers: Age of Extinction” Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Extreme Action)

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Evil CIA manager, Kelsey Grammer (as Harold Attinger) has made a deal with an alien species to help him eliminate the last of the Autobots. For some reason, Grammer has decided that our friends were now our enemies, and only a few Autobots are left…..all of them leaderless and in hiding.

Mark Wahlberg (as Cade Yeager) is a dirt poor inventor and handyman oblivious to the real world. His house is about to be repossessed and his 17 year old daughter (Nicola Peltz as Tessa) is growing up before his non-seeing eyes.

Searching for junk to turn into a robot or other invention, Wahlberg sifts through a run-down theater where he spots a beat-up old truck. He pays for that (using a friends money) and tows it to his barn / laboratory / workshop.

Tinkering with the truck he realizes he may have stumbled across a Transformer. He did.

Optimus Prime!

All hell breaks loose as the evil forces in the CIA now target Cade, his daughter, her boyfriend (huh? boyfriend?), and the remaining Autobots (including BumbleBee).

There is one f-word, but, otherwise the whole family will enjoy this movie. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” gives us amazing computer generated action with worldwide settings (including the destruction of Hong Kong), from the moment Optimus Prime has been located by the CIA to the end. Wahlberg rocks. He is a great replacement for Shia LeBeouf, and Grammer is good as evil.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy, and Bobby)

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“Think Like A Man Too” Movie Review

3-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Crazy Funny)

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The friends head to Las Vegas for the wedding of two of their own.  Kevin Hart (as Cedric) made himself the best man and has great plans for a terrific bachelor party. On the female side, Carter….err, Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) has plans for a terrific bachelorette party, but, is being usurped by the grooms mother.

think like a man tooWith Hart as the main character (and what a character he is) and narrator “Think Like A Man Too” follows the men and the women around Las Vegas trying to have a fun time with laugh-out-loud, stomach cramping, eye tearing, hilarity. <—That scene in the picture…make sure you have gone to the bathroom or you may lose it laughing. One of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in the movies.

Cedric finds out that the suite he rented for the guys is $40,000 per night, not $4,000. Oooops. To top it off, the wedding party misses their assigned wedding time (because they were all in jail!) and it looks grim for marriage.

“Think Like A Man Too” is wall-to-wall crazy funny. Kevin Hart lends his frantic comedy to the entire cast. In addition to crazy….it is also surprisingly touching and moving. Overall a very good fun movie, albeit one that may not be for everyone. We happen to love Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson (and miss her on Person of Interest).

Not for kids, but, I do not remember any f-words. The audience loved it. Stay all the way to the end to get treated to just a bit more Kevin Hart.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget

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“22 Jump Street” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(VERY Funny)

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Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) have graduated from high school and are heading off to college to find the drug dealer selling a new drug.

22 jump streetAt college, Jenko joins the football team, joins a fraternity, and hangs with a new bro (the Quarterback of the team).  Broken hearted at losing his best friend, Schmidt finds a beautiful coed and they hook-up. Back at 22 Jump Street, Schmidt brags about this hot hook-up to EVERYONE, and this hilariously backfires on him later.

Back at MC State, they follow leads to try to find the drug dealer until they solve the case during Spring Break in Mexico. (Director to himself: “How do we introduce hot people in bathing suits? Got it!  Let’s go on Spring Break!”)

“22 Jump Street” is a simple plot with extremely funny twists that are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Tatum and Hill are PERFECT together and are both very funny. Tatum dances, and Hill does not expose himself, thankfully. The previews of future Jump Streets was hilarious. All with the same basic plot just different kinds of schools.

Not for kids.  R-rated.  Lots of f-words.

Stay all the way to the end…we were the only ones who did, and were rewarded with a funny short clip.  Rock Chalk!  (those who know will know what I mean).  :-)

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark where the audience was filled with teen girls and young women.  Yup…Jonah Hill is hot.  ;-)

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“Blended” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Sandler & Barrymore Shine)

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Sometimes Adam Sandler gives you stupid. Sometimes he gives you a really good movie. “Blended” is the latter: A low key (for the most part) comedy about two single parents trying to do the best for their kids….99% of the time.

blendedOn a blind date, Sandler (as Jim) takes Drew Barrymore (Lauren) to Hooters. Neither is having a good time and Lauren arranges an emergency cell phone call to get her out of this. Jim’s call comes first and the date ends. (By the way, the reasons for how Jim handles situations come to light during the movie, very touching, and very well done by Sandler.)

Going to the store one night to buy tampons for his 15 year old daughter, Jim sees Lauren buying a magazine for her horny teen son. They trade items and pay. Problem is, their credit cards get mixed up and they have to see each other again. One thing leads to another and both families end up on the same dream African adventure.

“Blended” is a really good, fun, movie. Sandler is sooo good when he is low key (he is good when he is being stupid too, but, that is a matter of taste), and Barrymore is always wonderful. As for Adam Sandler “stupid”…there is a small African choir following the couple around lead by Terry Crews (as Nickens). That bit is both funny and….well…..stupid.  The supporting cast is terrific.  No Rob Schneider cameo. :-(

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark where the audience, for the 3rd week in release, was way larger than I expected. Judging by the audience reaction, they loved the movie.

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“Maleficent” Movie Review

5-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews College Scholarships(Mag-leficent)

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I loved everything about this movie: the script, the acting, the pacing,  the colors, the computer graphics, the scenery, the humor, the battle scenes, the fantastical creatures (one even looks like Dobby), Angelina Jolie (as Maleficent), Elle Fanning (as Aurora is the best actor of the Fanning bunch), and so much more.

maleficentIn short…..“Maleficent” is the perfect movie for the entire family (be careful of the battle scenes as they can be intense).

We get to meet Maleficent as a young girl when she meets her first human. These two beings become friends across the divide of nations, and as many times happens, love blossoms.

But as they grow older, Maleficent becomes the protector of her land, while Stefan (Sharlto Copley) strives to the highest position in his land (sometimes ruthlessly). He comes one night to warn Maleficent that the humans want to kill her. Instead, he drugs her and takes her wings as proof for his King that he has eliminated the hated fairy. He is rewarded by being named King of the humans when the King dies.

In a fit of anger, Maleficent curses his first born child, Aurora, to “sleep a death-like sleep forever”. But she adds an out clause…that “true loves kiss” can wake her from her slumber. Knowing full-well that “true loves kiss” does not exist.

As Aurora is growing up, Maleficent is always watching Aurora (and sometimes toying with the fairies who are raising her). She is around so much, that Aurora considers her her “fairy-god mother” and, surprisingly, Maleficent grows fond of Aurora. But, try as she might, she cannot undo the curse.

Maleficent has a heart. And is not as scary as the marketing of the movie makes her out to be.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

college-scholarships-happy-

 

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Time Traveling Wolverine)

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To change history (and save them all from annihilation), the remaining X-Men send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time so he can stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing that one crucial person that lead to their current situation.

xmen days of future pastThe time-traveling Wolverine has to convince the younger (and more pig-headed) Professor X (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen) that he is from the future and that they need to collaborate in 1973…..to survive in 50 years.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a fun, action filled, slightly confusing movie. Time travel is always confusing! My suggestion is to just go with the flow and try not to think too much as it all unfolds nicely at the end.

The violence might be a bit much for the younger kids. There are 2 f-words, that I remember, and one naked butt scene (Jackman).  Jennifer Lawrence is very hot as Mystique. Stay all the way thru the credits and you will be rewarded with a sneak peak at Apocalypse (oops, spoiler).

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

college-scholarships-happy-

 

 

“Godzilla” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Exciting. Electrifying. Epic.)

Fifteen years ago, nuclear power plant engineer, Joe Brody (Brian Cranston) was concerned that a recent swarm of tremors near the power plant in Japan were not natural.

GodzillaBrody went to work one day, with his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche), very concerned about the safety of the plant. He sent Sandra into the bowels of the plant to check on the systems and was about to cut back on power when the tremors became a full-fledged nuclear holocaust.

In the present, Joe’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is an EOD expert in the Army(?) at home on leave when he has to travel to Japan to bail his father out of custody (for trespassing in the nuclear danger zone). The elder Brody is, once again, concerned that new tremors are occurring just like those of fifteen years ago.

Sure enough.  A huge mutant monster is coming to life (or out of hibernation). This monster craves power and will seek out power sources around the globe until it’s hunger is satisfied.  And to make matters worse…..there are TWO of them, one of them (bigger and with babies) has just escaped from Yucca Mountain, Nevada (a virtual feeding frenzy of nuclear waste) to meet her mate in San Francisco.

Luckily for the world, Godzilla is roaming the oceans and will “restore balance” to nature if given the chance. On that note, Scientist Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) urges the authorities to just let Godzilla do his thing rather than interfere. But, interfere they must….arrrghh.

“Godzilla” is WAY better than I thought it would be. OK for the family (with reservations concerning violence). The acting is a bit melodramatic, and with some of the cast, terrible, but, the story and action (and the sound / audio) is superb. I thought Aaron Taylor-Johnson was good. A little laid back, but, he has the aura of a decent future action hero. Time will tell.

The cinematography is incredible. The sense of scale is very impressive and believable. Godzilla is HUGE!

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

college-scholarships-happy-

 

“Neighbors” Movie Review

3-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Raunchy Brainless Fun)

It is a relatively safe bet that if you go to a Seth Rogan movie you are going to a funny,raunchy affair. No difference here. “Neighbors”  is not an Oscar winning film, but, rather a movie you can get away from reality for a couple of hours. Not boring, fun, raunchy……Seth Rogan.

neighborsSeth (as Mac Radner) and his wife (Rose Byrne as Kelly) have an infant and are looking forward to two gays moving in next door. The moving van arrives and a shitload of fraternity guys move in.

Mac and Kelly decide to be the cool neighbors and introduce themselves (with an offering of weed) to Zac Efron (Teddy Sanders) the President of the Fraternity, then ask them to keep the noise down.

The noise continues and tensions rise between neighbors.

“Neighbors” is not for kids with f words, drinking, drugging, boobs, ass, and simulated sex. The theater had several under 17 sneak-ins, but, they made the movie fun with their laughter and oooohing.

Seth Rogan is himself.  Zac Efron is buff.  Rose Byrne is great.  A fun movie.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark theater.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget

Monday night May 12, 2014) we will give our 5th $1,000 college scholarship to a Tracy High scholar.

Congratulations, Inyoung Hong.

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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Not Amazing)

Not good when my mind drifted during the movie to the mantra “Where is Tobey?”  This version of Spider-Man, although more accurately depicting the comics, is juvenile, goofy, and predictable.

the amazing spiderman 2Andrew Garfield is Spider-Man / Peter Parker, and is VERY busy saving almost everyone who needs saving in the metropolis.  He is also still dating Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) even though her father haunts Peter’s memories (remember he promised her dying father not to involve Gwen in his life).

Well……things become bumpy for the two lovers as Peter decides to uphold his promise.

But the movie would not be a Spider-Man movie without villains. We have several showing up in this near re-hash of a Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie:  Harry Osborn takes over control of Oscorp (and becomes the Green Goblin at the end….oh, spoiler), lowly nerd engineer at Oscorp, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), idolizes Spidey until a laboratory accident turns him into a hateful Electro. In a minor role, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevitch has a brief fling in a monster suit to fight Spider-Man.

To inject humor into the movie (I do not know why they felt the need to overdo it), they turned Spider-Man into a stand-up comic throwing out one-liners as he did his thing. Some of the one-liners are funny, but, many are simply stupid and cringe-worthy.

The computerized action sequences are outstanding. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is good for the whole family as long as the comic book action is not too intense for the little ones.  It is a bit long, and a bit goofy.  I like the more subtle humor of the Tobey Spider-Man’s.

True to the comics (according to my source on this matter)…a main character dies in this movie.

Go to IMDB for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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