Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Movie Review: Now You See Me - PG13

A group of magicians known as the "Four Horsemen"  pull off heists against corrupt businessmen and share the proceeds with their audience.  The FBI is pursuing them, but the Four are always a step ahead.

 The acting is good, especially Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

The story is well written and engaging. The illusions are very cool;  they are entertaining, and they are pertinent to the story.  

Very entertaining and engaging.Worth seeing!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: Pray for Me

by Dr. Robert Moynihan
New York: Image, 2013
Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas, was published a mere six weeks after the election of Pope Francis. As a writer, I can only imagine what a monumental task that must have been for Dr. Robert Moynihan, but the founder and editor of Inside the Vatican, widely known as one of the world’s leading Vatican analysts, was clearly up to the challenge.
The title of this ambitious work, Pray for Me, comes from the “first request made by this pope to all of us, a simple request, from his heart: ‘Pray for Me.’” The purpose of the book is to answer three questions – Who is this man? What does he believe? and What will he do as leader of the Church?
Moynihan answers the first two questions by offering a short biography and exploration of Pope Francis’ primary spiritual influences.  The portrait that develops is one of a very human man whose life took him in various directions. Perhaps one of the most charming anecdotes was of the future pope at age twelve, writing a love letter to a young girl telling her if she didn’t marry him he would become a priest! He studied chemistry and then went on to earn a degree in philosophy and theology and was ordained a priest when he was nearly 34 years old. In 1992, he was named as a Bishop of Buenos Aires; 1997, Coadjutor Archbishop; and 1998, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  The five spiritual influences Moynihan examines are the prophet Jonah from the Old Testament; Mary, the mother of Christ; Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits; Don Luigi Giussani, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement; and St. Francis. The last question is more speculative but some conclusions can be drawn from looking at his leadership as Archbishop in Buenos Aires.
Pray for Me also offers a news-type discussion of the first two weeks of the new pontificate – what Pope Francis did and said on a day-by-day basis from the time of the election on March 13th through Easter. While much of this is still relatively fresh in the reader’s mind, this section will become more valuable as time passes and memory fades as a historical record of the early days of this papacy. 
The third section of the book is titled “In His Own Words,” and provides excerpts from Pope Francis’ homilies and addresses given over the years on topics such as God, Mary, Creation, Morality, Children, Youth, Culture, Politics, Religion and Sin.
Pray for Me is a wonderful introduction to the life and thought of Pope Francis, highly recommended to anyone eager to learn more about our new pontiff. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel - PG13

The writing was quality, and creative.  We've all heard or seen the Superman story many times, but they found a way to tell it in a new and fresh manner.  

The casting was spot on - Henry Cavill seemed very natural and at ease in such a prominent role.  I am not a huge Russell Crow, but he was excellent as Superman's birth father.    Laurence Fishburne was pretty commanding as Perry White.  Kevin Costner was good in his roll, but I didn't care for the way his character insisted Clark hide his true self...it seemed to have an unintended affect on Clark's confidence and self-esteem.

  Although it is an action-oriented movie, I liked the character interaction.  They reflected the written  relationship pretty realistically and naturally.  

My only problem  was that in the last 20 minutes/half hour, the destruction was waaaay over-done.   That part got pretty intense, and came across as pretty unbelievable.  

Overall, a very good movie that I enjoyed a lot.  


Monday, June 10, 2013

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby - PG13

It's been quite a while since I've seen such an over-hyped movie.

 The first two-thirds of it were hard to watch;  It was mostly watching people drinking and partying.

  The dialogue is awkward and uncomfortable.   

The acting was sub-par, but they didn't have much of a script to work with.

The plot is lacking, and leaves a couple of important points unexplained.

 Content warning: There is a bed scene, but they remain covered so there is no nudity.  

Two words: DON'T BOTHER.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Movie Review: After Earth - PG13

Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his famous father Cypher (Will Smith), who is also  a General, are stranded after crash landing on earth, 1000 years after humans were forced to escape earth for another planet.

  First, a couple of comments on the main characters:  

Jaden Smith - I can't believe how much he's grown, just since playing The Karate Kid a couple of years ago  :)  

Will Smith - He looks very different without his mustache, and he plays a much more somber character than we're used to seeing him play;  this speaks a lot to his versatility as an actor.    

At the time this story takes place, any life forms on earth are hostile toward  humans.  There is a lot of action, and the special effects are very appropriate for the story.  The father/son interaction between Kitai and Cypher really adds to the story.  

One of the things I liked about After Earth is the uniqueness of the story plot...it is not just a rehash of other movie plots we may have seen.   

Content warnings include violence and a couple of brief scenes of gore . 

  I've read that After Earth hasn't done that well at the box office, but I really enjoyed it.   I just wish I had seen the 3D version :)