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The Casual Vacancy Movie Review

The Casual Vacancy Movie Review

Drugstore Divas received The Casual Vacancy for this review. All thoughts and opinions belong to Drugstore Divas.

The Casual Vacancy is a mini-series based on a book I never read by an author who I’ve never read. At yet, I still had expectations. Ones that were never, at all, reached. And yet somehow, that’s okay.

And these short sentences? They have to be okay too. Because the mini series just ended. And I can’t breathe. Three hours I’ve spent watching this and I’ve held my breath through the last twenty minutes, hoping the inevitable wouldn’t happen. It did. Spoiler alert: She died. The character who I liked very much, who I was rooting for during the second two hours, died.

It’s a knife in my heart, stabbing my chest, and I don’t understand why I couldn’t reach through the screen, pluck her from the town of Pagford, and let her live in our guest bedroom forever.

I guess that’s the reaction you want from a mini series, one that I just invested three hours of my life watching. Well, two hours really watching and the first just sort of listening. The Casual Vacancy is based on the novel with the same name by JK Rowling (which I didn’t read), who also wrote Harry Potter (which I mentioned before, also didn’t read). Spoiler alert (although it’s a bit too late for that warning, I guess), the ending of the movie is different from the book itself. It’s a happier ending, so the Internet tells me, but this is not a happy ending.

It’s set in the fictional village of Pagford, one that is filled mostly with the haves but also with the have nots. The rich would prefer to send the poor out of the village. They bring the idea of turning the town’s clinic that helps the poor and needy into a spa for the wealthy to the town council. It would force those in need to take a bus to get the help they need, something that’s just impossible and unrealistic. “Oh, they’d get that bus if there was heroin at the end of it,” says one of the wealthy.

And that’s the way of the world, really. Compassion-less people think only of themselves and make jokes at the expense of others. Then there are the compassionate people who are champions for those who don’t have a voice. And in this story, it’s Barry. He’s a social worker on the board who is married — to his beautiful, less compassionate wife — and his job. The town board is at a split vote, until Barry — who is the most interesting character of the first third of the mini series — (spoiler alert) dies of a brain aneurysm.

Hour two starts and that’s when it really caught my attention. During the first third, I was able to work and chat online. During the last two hours, I sat glued to the screen. I didn’t work, didn’t text anyone back, didn’t get up for a snack. I was so invested in Krystal, the 16-year-old daughter of a heroin junkie who wants nothing more than to be loved.

I was invested in the awful power couple of Howard and Shirley Mollison; in the young Arf whose own father calls him a pizza face; in the counselor Tess who just has more love in her heart than her crappy son Fats will accept. If I could rearrange them, if I could make Krystal and Arf and Tess a happy loving family and combine Tess’ awful son with Krystal’s addict mom so they can both drag each other down, I would. But then, that wouldn’t create a story that rips at your heart.

JK Rowling is the author of Harry Potter, so I was just expecting something a bit happier and uplifting. Harry Potter starts with a kid living in a closet under the stairs who goes to Hogwarts and becomes a wizard (I’m paraphrasing and making up that last part because I don’t actually know what happens at Hogwarts). But I imagine Harry Potter is a happy success story and I was expecting that from The Casual Vacancy.

No. Just no. This was not that. But that’s my own fault. You know what happens when you assume? You guess incorrectly and have your heart ripped out and stomped on and you mourn the loss of a character from a mini series all night long.

The Casual Vacany is available on DVD. You can pick it up here, and I really suggest you do. I liked it so very much. Once I can resume breathing, I might have to sit down and watch it all the way through again. Or maybe I’ll just read the book.

Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces Movie Review

Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces Movie Review

Drugstore Divas received this DVD for this Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces movie review. All thoughts and opinions belong to Drugstore Divas.

looney tunes musical masterpiecesI remember a long time ago, one of our television channels changed to the another channel. And dancing on our screen after the change was Michigan J. Frog. I had no idea who he was before that, but I loved him with his cane and top hat singing, “Hello my baby; hello my darling; hello my ragtime gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.” So when we were watching Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces for review, I was wondering just how long it would take before I heard that song.

It was 16 minutes (into the 133 minute DVD).

I’m not sure why I expected the DVD to be all singing. Musical masterpieces are more than just vocals, but I didn’t think about that until I turned it on and realized the lack of dialogue in the beginning episode: A Corny Concerto. There was a lot of music, though, as the name would imply. Music tells the story, in many cases, just as much as the images on the screen. Dialogue isn’t always needed.

That’s good because your kids will actually have to sit and watch this to follow the story. They can’t have it on and listen, but play on their tablets, and expect to keep up. So your kids will actually be watching the movie, which is what you want if you buy a DVD. You want it to be the focus, not just background noise. 

There are 18 cartoons on the DVD. It’s a collection of memorable cartoons, so nothing new on the DVD, but it is the first time they’re all together.

A Corny Concerto
Rabbit of Seville
One Froggy Evening
Rhapsody Rabbit
What’s Opera, Doc?
Hillbilly Hare
Pizzicato Pussycat
Nelly’s Folly
I Love to Singa
Page Miss Glory
Katnip Kollege
High Note
Pigs in a Polka
Three Little Bops
Rhapsody in Rivets
Back Alley Oproar
Holiday Shoestrings
Lights Fantastic

Would you watch this with your kids?

The Age Of Adaline Movie Review

The Age Of Adaline Movie Review

We attended an advanced screening of The Age Of Adaline. This is our The Age Of Adaline review (although it was not required of us and our attending had nothing to do with this blog).

The Age Of Adaline Review

We eat vegetables and avoid red meat. We work out. We take our vitamins and go to the doctor for check ups. We keep our minds and bodies active. We do all these things to stay healthy, to prolong our lives and avoid the inevitable: dying.

But what if you were living forever? 

That’s the premise of The Age Of Adaline. Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) gets into a tragic car accident at the age of 29, which stops her aging. For the next eight decades, Adaline is a year shy of 30. At least, physically. Her mind and soul are over 100, but she doesn’t look a day over 29.

The viewer has to lend a little (okay, a lot of) believably to the idea that someone can just stop aging (something, the narrator explains, will be more understood in 2035). But for now, in the spring of 2015, we are to just believe the far fetched tale that an accident stopped Adaline from aging … which sounds great to me. You never get older, you never get gray hairs, and wrinkles are a future that never comes.

But it’s sad, actually. Adaline’s daughter Flemming (Izabel Pearce, then Julia Torrance, then Cate Richardson, then, finally, Ellen Burstyn) gets older while Adaline doesn’t. And, although Adaline says she will always be her mother, she must be introduced as Flemming’s friend. Later, as her granddaughter. That’s when the notion of living forever starts to change. You realize that the circle of life is happening for everyone but you and everyone you come to love will leave you, under no choice of their own. It’s just life and death.

So Adaline chooses not to love. And, as anyone in love knows, that’s a pretty lonely existence. But it’s her only option. She travels light and establishes few roots. She must be on the run every decade, changing her identity from one 29-year-old to another. Because there’s no way to explain how a woman who is 108 looks 29. There’s no bottle or cream for that. (The only ones who believe the ludicrous story that it’s true are the movie goers.)

But then, as movie magic would have it, she falls in love.

And of course, that turns this into a romantic movie that’s perfect for date night. Although Adaline herself is timeless, this movie isn’t. You won’t be positioning it next to Casablanca in your movie rotation. But it’s cute and it’s done well. There’s no cursing, no sex scenes (although you do see a couple together in bed in the morning); there aren’t any explosions or brutality. There’s a little blood, but nothing cringe-worthy. Overall, it’s really wholesome. It’s so rare lately to find a movie that can tell a story without needing to blow things up or have naked people running around to hold the viewers’ attention. So I really applaud The Age Of Adaline for accomplishing this.

Lively does great with the part (especially if you attribute the fact that she is so wise and stuffy to the fact that she is, in fact, almost 110). And with the role of her love interest Ellis Jones, Michiel Huisman does well too. He’s not a character you instantly fall in love with and root for, but he’s very likable. The ace, though, is Jones’ father William (Harrison Ford). What a surprise performance this was. He just does such a great job in the part and if he doesn’t get a supporting actor nod during award season for this role, I’ll blame it more on the movie than his acting.

We really liked it, overall, a whole lot more than we expected. We could have done without the sci-fi narrator portion of it because viewers can figure out the story on their own without a voice over that, honestly, doesn’t explain much. But I’ll overlook it because everything else was well done (especially Adaline’s outfits. I loved the costumes in this). It’s a good movie, one that will pull at your heart and your mind. 

Have you seen it? What did you think?

The Age Of Adaline is out on DVD now. You can purchase it here.

 

Island of Lemurs Madagascar Movie Review

Island of Lemurs Madagascar Movie Review

Drugstore Divas received Island of Lemurs Madagascar for this review.

Island of Lemurs Madagascar

“I don’t know anything about lemurs,” I said to Pete when Island of Lemurs: Madagascar arrived for us to review. “I don’t even know if it’s lemurs or lemurs.”

That makes no sense when I type it out, but the first was leigh-murs and the second was lem-urs. I kept saying leigh-murs, but then I got to thinking about that computer game from back in the day called Lemmings, and that’s lem-ings, and I thought maybe that game was based off these animals.

That is how little I knew about these creatures. So I was really excited to sit down and watch the documentary Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. It’s not a part of the Madagascar cartoon series. It’s named such because the only place that lemurs (pronounced leigh-murs, as I originally thought) exist is on Madagascar. They were on Africa millions of years ago and then rafted to Madagascar, hitching rides due to shifting currents and weather. And that’s it. They’re there and nowhere else.

Cool.

What was not cool was that Madagascar is basically getting ruined by humans. According to the documentary, 95% of Madagascar’s rain forests are gone due to deforestation. That’s not good because these lemurs are running out of places to live and going extinct.

The documentary is only 41 minutes short — and it goes quick. A lot of the time is spent on the visually stunning Madagascar, but I think that was more for the fact that this is an IMAX movie. The intro shows a lot of green trees, zooming into them almost. And you know that would be perfect if I was in a theater with 3D glasses, but I was at home with a non-3D TV. 

You really do learn a lot in the 41 minutes, even though part of it does just seem like a propaganda to save the rain forests disguised as a documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman. But I didn’t mind, mostly because of the dancing lemur. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time and the absolute best part of the movie. There was no number at the end to text to send $10 to the Red Cross of Lemurs, so it wasn’t that much propaganda. But, really, if there was a number to text to donate $10 to save the dancing lemur, I would have sent some money. Really, check out the video below and you’ll see what I mean.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is being released onto Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on March 31 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown Movie Review

The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown Movie Review

Drugstore Divas received The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown for this review.

The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown Movie Review

When I was young, I used to watch The Flintstones. There was also a time, when I was a bit older, that I would watch wrestling with my brothers. So when I heard about The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown DVD, I was really excited to watch it. It’s actually the first new Flintstones movie in over a dozen years, so it’s possible that there’s a whole generation of kids who have never seen a new Flintstones cartoon (then again, I honestly have no idea if I actually ever saw a new Flintstones cartoon or if they were just reruns, now that I think about it).

The plot is pretty simple: Fred (voiced by Jeff Bergman) has promised Wilma (Tress MacNeille) a family vacation. But when he shows up to work late and makes a mess of the quarry where he works, Mr. Slate (John O’Hurley) smashes up his paycheck. Fred needs to make the money back somehow. Despite being stressed over work that day, he’s dragged to a fund raising event with Barney (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Betty Rubble (Grey Griffin). It’s there that Barney ends up wrestling … and the donations pour in.

So Fred has a great idea. He will charge for a wrestling match and make his vacation money. It works, but then he gets hungrier. Fred spends the vacation money on a crazy outfit for the next match … but Barney doesn’t want to be involved. That’s a total letdown for the crowd because Barney is pretty popular. The other wrestlers are kinda hesitant too because they’re all friends so they don’t want to fight.

The wrestlers — John Cenastone (John Cena), CM Punkrock (CM Punk), The Undertaker, etc. — convince Fred that friendship is more important. But, before he can really remorse or think about his shenanigans  and how it’s really effecting his relationships, Barney appears to wrestle and save the day (that’s what friends do, right?). And when Wilma and Betty find out about all this, they show up to strongarm two ringside women. I actually thought they would wrestle and there would be some mention of the start of the Divas, but words worked instead.

If you follow wrestling, you’ll be interested to see Rey Mysteriopal (Rey Mysterio). Rey Mysterio actually left WWE in February and this movie came out in March, so that implies this has been in production for a while. If you don’t follow wrestling, you’ll still recognize Vince McMahon who voices Mr. McMagma and ends up inheriting the wrestling business after Fred wants out.

Overall, the movie was okay. I laughed at one joke at the end, but nothing else really made me chuckle. If you’re looking for something to solve cabin fever, this will buy you about an hour. But I can’t see it as something your kid wants to watch over and over. It was just a little less entertaining than I remember The Flintstones and WWE being. But with so many cartoons and shows for kids getting so violent, it’s nice seeing one like this that isn’t. The biggest complaint I’ve been hearing, though, is that the voices don’t match what you’re expecting to hear. That’s something that I noticed too, but it didn’t pull me out of the movie (except Mr. Slate. John O’Hurley voice is just so familiar, it’s hard to take that familiarity out of it).

You can purchase The Flintstones And WWE: Stone Age Smackdown DVD on Amazon.

The Tom And Jerry Show Season 1 Part 2: Funny Side Up Movie Review

The Tom And Jerry Show Season 1 Part 2: Funny Side Up Movie Review

Warner Bros. provided The Tom And Jerry Show Season 1 Part 2: Funny Side Up to Drugstore Divas for this review. All thoughts and opinions belong to Drugstore Divas.

tom and jerry showI was on the phone with Pete last night. “It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m watching Tom and Jerry,” I told him.

“It’s violent, with them all hitting each other with hammers and stuff,” he said.

“No,” I said. “That’s Itchy and Scratchy.” And then I thought about it. “Actually,” I added, “The cat just did put a little mouse in the microwave. Not Jerry, but another mouse.” (The other mouse, by the way, was Jerry’s nephew Tuffy).

“See!” he said. “It is violent.”

It’s true. I wasn’t making that scene up. It’s actually part of “Tuffy Love” one of the episodes on The Tom And Jerry Show Season 1 Part 2: Funny Side Up DVD that was released on DVD earlier this week. The Tom And Jerry Show is a remake of the famous cartoon Tom And Jerry (which, after a quick search on Wikipedia, has had a ton of revivals over the years). This rendition of the cat and mouse duo airs on the Cartoon Network. Season 1 is 26 episodes, split over two DVD’s. Each has 13 episodes, with two cartoon shorts in each.

The majority of the cartoons are short on dialog, which is good for young viewers. The animation tells the story and there’s no much time wasted with chatting. The exception are the capers featuring “The Cat and Mouse Detectives.” My favorite was “Poof!” It was actually the second half of the episode where Tuffy was stuffed in the microwave. In Poof, Tom and Jerry are hired as detectives to figure out what happened to a rabbit magician’s pigeon friend.

See, the rabbit was a terrible magician (and everyone told him so) and the only one who was supportive at all was his new pigeon friend. When he asked for a volunteer for a disappearing act, the pigeon was an obvious choice. He made him disappear … but then needed Tom and Jerry to help him find the pigeon.

Spoiler alert here: The pigeon is found. The rabbit talks about how everyone is right, he’s the worst magician. And the pigeon says no, he’s so great and can make all the naysayers disappear. How? By not listening to them. Ignoring them and their negative comments makes them go away. It was such a good lesson, especially for little kids. I really liked that episode, but it wasn’t without its own violence (Jerry does pull a heavy sword, which he can’t hang on to, and it flings back to hit Tom in the foot).

The DVD isn’t rated, which caused me to worry just a little because some of the high jinks can be a little violent for really young kids. If you do have pre-school age children, I would definitely screen this before letting them watch. That way you can be sure the slapstick comedy in that episode is appropriate for them (and I know, maybe that’s me being a little overprotective, but I think it’s worth mentioning).

Did you watch Tom and Jerry growing up? If you want to purchase this for your kids, check out The Tom And Jerry Show Season 1 Part 2: Funny Side Up DVD on Amazon.