Meathead March – The Magic of Belle Island (2012) – Tranquil Dreams

Check out my second (and last) post to the Meathead March blogathon over at MovieRob’s. If you haven’t heard of it before, its a blogathon dedicated to Rob Reiner’s movies. This time around, I reviewed a much newer movie that I’ve never heard of until I did this blogathon called The Magic of Belle Isle with the ever so talented Morgan Freeman who finds himself again as a lost writer.
While you’re there, remember to take a look at the awesome posts for the other movies for the this blogathon. Rob Reiner has directed some really impressive movies.

Happy Thursday! ūüôā

MovieRob

meathead march blogathonFor today’s first review of The Magic of Belle Isle (2012), here’s a review by Kim of Tranquil Dreams

Thanks Kim!

the magic of belle isle posterThe Magic of Belle Isle (2012)

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Emma Fuhrmann, Madeline Carroll, Nicolette Pierini

magic of belle isle 1

Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman), an old Western novelist who has turned into an alcoholic after losing his creative touch for many years is brought by his nephew to Belle Isle to stay for the summer.  Fully accomodated in this home, his one task is to drink and watch over the owner’s dog.  When the next door neighbor, Charlotte O’Neill (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters, Willow (Madeline Carroll), Finnegan (Emma Fuhrmann) and Flora (Nicolette Pierini) start to approach him, they each help me to find his creative passion and himself again.

The Magic of Belle Isle is a feel-good charming little movie.  There are a few factors that you…

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The Lego Movie (2014)

After a really emotionally draining watch of Virunga and seeing as it was Chinese New Year’s Eve yesterday, I decided to put off my rentals of The Theory of Everything and Boyhood (and because the run times are incredibly long), I decided to pop in The Lego Movie. ¬†Despite all the positive reviews, I’m still a little skeptical about it. ¬†I tried watching it on the plane once and didn’t find it all that amazing, but then I was just cranky and tired on the last leg of the trip to Asia over the summer.

Either way, I figured its worth a watch. ¬†I’ve heard some claim that this should have gotten a Best Animated Feature nomination for Oscars so I’m curious. Plus, it has a Best Original Song for “Everything is Awesome”. With a song title like that, how could I resist? ūüėČ

THE LEGO MOVIE (2014)

the lego movie

Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Voice Cast: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Jonah Hill

Bricksburg is run by instructions. ¬†Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker that follows the rules so much that he’s a nothing to everyone around him. ¬†That’s until he discovers the Piece of Resistance that could overturn the Kragle, a deadly weapon owned by Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the villainous mayor who hopes to destroy the city of Bricksburg by gluing everyone to the ground. With the guidance of Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) as they claim him as the Special, they set off to ¬†find the Masterbuilders and a way to hatch a plan that will put the Piece of Resistance in place and save the world.

lego movie

Thats the sequence for Everything is Awesome because thats how the movie starts. ¬†The moment it started like that, I kind of felt like I was watching The Lorax (and I liked that one a lot!). Right from there, I’m already pretty impressed at the concept of making a movie out of Lego, which means that there’s A LOT of room for creativity and puns and all that good stuff. ¬†Being rather skeptical with this, my expectations are a tad low but still, there was a part in the beginning that was a little meh for me. ¬†It does pick up once we have the whole crew together to save the world. ¬†I mean, its pretty genius once everything starts coming together. And c’mon, when you get the “The Man Above” (or whatever you call it) shows up, that was a surprise. ¬†It pulled a really awesome ending for it.

the lego movie

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. ¬†I’m going to admit that it was as engaging as I would’ve liked it to be. ¬†I’ve seen better animations but it is a beautiful animation full of some pretty good dialogue and decent story plus its voiced by a ton of really talented people. ¬†Excuse me, Morgan Freeman has THE BEST VOICE in the world. ¬†And then the awesomeness of Liam Neeson’s unique voice was fantastic as well. It took me a little while to get on board with Chris Pratt and Emmett. ¬†I guess, its the fact that his character wasn’t as charming as I’d like it to be but then its normal because it does reinforce how he’s really normal. You have to say though, I do love how he embraces the routine life with so much positivity in a completely not rebellious way. His character really did grow on me ūüôā I can’t remember when I really loved a role with Elizabeth Banks but her voice as Wyldstyle was pretty good as well. ¬†Plus, I really liked the whole adding in a ton of Lego crew with a bunch of superheroes and I can’t help but love the Unikitty a lot. ¬†Unicorns and kitty cats make me happy! ūüėČ

the lego movie

With any animation, there is a simplicity when the target is all ages. ¬†By the way, The Lego Movie is all the way great for the whole family. ¬†There’s no mushy love scenes and its super colorful and joyful. ¬†There’s objects you can relay to in life and playing around with that aspect. ¬†Its time to talk about the villain, Lord Business who while he is evil in his thoughts, he definitely was kind of fun also. ¬†It never actually gets really serious and that works for The Lego Movie. ¬†Good job to Will Ferrell for his voice work. ¬†He was great. Maybe he should do more animation, just saying.

lego movie

Overall, The Lego Movie may be a little overrated in my mind because of all that hype that came out when it was first released. ¬†It does have beautiful animations, great voice cast and the story is fun and light suitable for all ages. ¬†All those things work fine. ¬†I just didn’t find it as engaging or fall for some of the humor as much but there are some fun puns and dialogues. ¬†It is undeniable that I’m happy the song, Everything is Awesome got an Oscar nominated but its is a bucket of fun ūüôā

Have you seen The Lego Movie? What are your thoughts? What did you like the best about this? 

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Gerard Butler? Where have you gone? It seems like the last time I even heard Gerard Butler was in How To Train A Dragon. ¬†In real life movies, it must be Gamer or Law Abiding Citizen. ¬†I know he did a rom-com with Jessica Biel and I hate Biel so I won’t be giving that one a shot. ¬†But, I do love myself some Gerard Butler. He is an amazing man and I’m glad to see him doing some action flicks. ¬†I hope this means there’s more to come. Despite the not very enthusiastic reviews, lets check out Olympus Has Fallen.

olympus has fallen posterDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobson, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett

After an accident that caused the death of the president’s wife, former presidential security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is sent to do a desk job. ¬†When a sudden attack on the White House occurs, he rushes back in and gets trapped inside. ¬†With all the communication cut except the terrorists and his own and president and the most important politicians kidnapped, he is asked by Mr. Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who also sits in as President to help them figure out who the terrorists are, save the President’s son Connor (Finley Jacobson) and especially rescue the President (Aaron Eckhart) before anything worse happens.

You know, I have the research thing where before I write up my review I like to check the scores on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB just gauge if we’re on the same page or I’m just the ridiculous person who knows nothing because I’m the total opposite. ¬†Either way, my reason for talking about this is that, well, I’m looking at the summaries and everyone says Mike Banning is trapped. ¬†Not really, right? He kind of moved his butt from his chair in the office and ran towards the White House and then had that gun fight and then made his way to get some gear and shoot those terrorists down. ¬†Maybe I missed something, I have been ridiculously busy and it was a break that lasted longer that I had initially wanted. With that out, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. ¬†Its not so much Die Hard level but the concept is there. ¬†Its held up by an awesome cast and aside from some not so up to date CGI, it was still pretty fun to watch. I’m obviously not going to critique this movie has harshly as say something more deep, because its supposed to be simply entertaining and I was entertained. ¬†So much that I almost forgot to go back to study…

olympus has fallen gerard butler

I’ve been a fan of Gerard Butler since forever. The reason you don’t see me talking about it as much is well, I haven’t reviewed any of his movies yet. ¬†I own ¬†a lot of them but I just haven’t wanted to put one into the Blu-ray yet. ¬†As much as he is attractive and charming and I love his accent, I love him best as a tough guy kicking some ass. In this one, he was all of the. Please do more action flicks, Gerard. I promise the next one I’ll go see it in the theatres. ¬†But, just lay off on the rom-coms, okay?

olympus has fallen morgan freeman

Okay, back on track. I’m not crazy. Its just nice to have imaginary talks with actors and make a deal with myself to keep supporting them. Now, next up is a man that can do no wrong. I’ve mentioned it in Now You See Me HERE¬†and I say it again, Morgan Freeman is one of those actors who can do everything, every role, no matter big or small. His expressions and emotions are just awesome. I don’t even know how to elaborate on his greatness. The next supporting actor was Aaron Eckhart. I’m sure all of you have more exposure to his stuff than me. ¬†I mean, I’ve only seen him in Erin Brockovich and Dark Knight. Still, I really think he isn’t a decent actor. Nothing wow yet, but he’s good. Same goes for this. He does a good president, I think.

olympus has fallen aaron eckhart

As much as supporting is important for any movie, in these sort of silly shoot ’em up action flicks, the bad guys are the main ones to look for. I mean, Die Hard wouldn’t have been so epic without Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, right? Right! Glad you agree ūüėČ so, here, our baddie is Rick Yune who plays Kang. I think he stands up for the people of North Korea and he’s an international terrorist that all the government organizations are looking for but no one has seen his lovely face. Honestly, I didn’t find the man very threatening, so whether he is effective as a bad guy, well, not really? ¬†But the man can fight and he and Gerard Butler had a good fight scene.

olympus has fallen bad guy

Overall, I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse but I can’t deny that aside from some bad effects and a rather predictable course of events, it does hold up some decent brainless action-filled entertainment with explosions and guns. Gerard Butler channelled his tough guy act in an awesome way. ¬†I liked it and well, if you like this sort of thing, you know, shutting off your mind and watching a fun movie, this could be a good choice.

Now I really want to check out White House Down to see if Channing Tatum can hold up against this! ūüôā

Did you see Olympus Has Fallen? Did you like it? What do you think of Gerard Butler?

Now You See Me (2013)

The post for yesterday didn’t really happen but I did manage to squeeze in a movie on my down time and I felt like I needed a little magic in my life so I put in a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it hit the big screen but missed because lets just say, I was the only one that was enthusiastic about it. ¬†Despite the pretty much average reviews, I still have rather high hopes for this one. Lets do it! Back on track with catching up on 2013 flicks ūüôā

now you see me posterDirector: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Four solo magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Wood Harrelson, Dave Franco) come together to form the Four Horsemen. In their first act in Las Vegas, they attempt to rob a bank and give back to the audience.  This alerts the FBI and the case is handed to  Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is forced to team up with Interpol agent, Alma Dary (Melanie Laurent) to try and catch them.  Meanwhile, they seem to always be a step ahead.

Now You See Me is a crime/mystery thriller. ¬†Let me first talk about why this movie drew me in. ¬†First of all, its about magic. ¬†I like that stuff. ¬†I’m one of those really easily tricked people and I can never replicate or figure out how any trick is done so I’m the optimal target audience for this because I’ll just lick it right up and not really think but enjoy the show. ¬†Second, notice the cast up there. ¬†Its full of actors and actresses I like (if not, love). ¬†I’ll elaborate on that point a bit later. Last, its essentially a heist flick, a thriller and a mystery, all of the above is one of my favorite genres.

NOW YOU SEE ME

Now You See Me is very much like watching a magic show. ¬†Everything is flashy and there’s plenty of action. ¬†The first two acts were fun and impeccable to watch on screen. ¬†The effects were not so 2013 but more 2003 but thats okay, I’m not very nitpicky about that sort of thing. Its really just something I noticed. ¬†The action was great and for the most part, I was pretty drawn into the movie. ¬†The only deal was that there was something missing to pull me in completely because right near the finale, I pressed pause and was about to shower and then I noticed I had 15 minutes so I sat back down and continued on. ¬†Usually, I don’t want to leave my chair at the end. ¬†So I acknowledge something wasn’t there, I just can’t pinpoint what. Maybe its the connection to any of the characters…I need to think that one through again.

now you see me dylan alma

With that point we head into the characters. ¬†Other than Dave Franco being a new face (which I’ve only seen before in 21 Jump Street) in The Four Horsemen, I really like the other three. ¬†Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson worked fantastic in Zombieland so I was hopeful about their performance here and it didn’t disappoint. ¬†I love Isla Fisher because she is quite good in a lot of the roles. Dave Franco was pretty good too and well, he has charm and style. ¬†The Four Horsemen meshed well together and that carried a good part of the movie to a good level for me. ¬†And then we come to our opposite party, Melanie Laurent and Mark Ruffalo. ¬†I’ve only seen these two previously separately in one other movie before this one, I was alright with them in this. ¬†I can’t help but feel like it could have been better, but I’m no expert at this so its just a feeling I’m getting. Finally, we have two of my favorite actors: Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. ¬†They may have very small roles but I pretty much have admitted that Michael Caine doesn’t have to do much and he can be totally awesome, the same goes for Morgan Freeman ūüôā Great actors can portray what they want to convey in their facial expressions and these two do it so well.

now you see me morgan freeman and michael caine

Now You See Me is really a movie that resembles watching a magic show. You either buy it or you don’t. ¬†For me, my fascination for magic probably made me like this movie a lot more than the majority of viewers. ¬†The cast and their chemistry with each other brings the movie to a more enjoyable level as well. ¬†There are some part of the plot that seems to fall flat, especially nearing the end when it becomes a bit more predictable in some parts where I did guess it but it could have gone both ways. ¬†After these are magicians, so you never know if what happens is what they planned or not.

There is no doubt in my mind that I believe this is a good movie.  I would gladly watch it again, maybe not in abundance but its one that I bought their acts and I had fun and was entertained.  Thats what matters in the end, right?

Have you seen Now You See Me? What do you think about it?

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Following Argo winning best picture at the Oscars last week, I decided to watch this flick. ¬†Ben Affleck‘s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone. ¬†I actually saw this one in the theatres with my best friend when it came out in 2007. ¬†Of course, I didn’t know that Ben Affleck was the director but I was intrigued by the trailer. I know I’m a week late but I’ve been running a bit slow on these reviews and hopefully I’ll catch up soon enough.

gone baby gone posterDirector: Ben Affleck

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan, John Ashton

This place takes place in where a little girl, Amanda McCreedy has been kidnapped and the police have been trying to find her with all their forces. ¬†This is when the aunt and uncle of Amanda, in desperation, goes to hire a private investigator, Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his partner, Angie (Michelle Monaghan) because they are known to have connections to the criminal side of Boston. ¬†Much to the police’s disapproval, the captain (Morgan Freeman) however still is obliged to assign two officers, Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton). In their investigation, they learn that Amanda’s mother, Helen(Amy Ryan) is involved in a messy situation because of her way of living and people she connects to. ¬†The further they investigate, the more secrets get revealed and it drags them deeper and deeper into a situation that they can’t turn back anymore. ¬†(Did I make that sound really dramatic? But thats how I felt it was..)

This movie is all about the secrets so I had to be really short with the summary so you get an idea but not really spoil this flick if you haven’t seen it. ¬†I’ve seen The Town and I probably won’t end up catching Argo until a few months later when it might *crosses my fingers* drop a bit in price. This is an intriguing suspense drama.

gone baby gone 2

Its packed with awesome performances from the cast. ¬†Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris was amazing as usual. ¬†This is the only movie I’ve seen of Casey Affleck and man, he’s a pretty good actor. ¬†He had me intrigued the whole way, dragged me into every tight situation and carried every intense moment on his shoulders. ¬†Michelle Monaghan looks really familiar, I think she was the chick in Eagle Eye and maybe some other ones that slip my memory. ¬†She was good too although I’d have to say that she didn’t really have much to say in my recollection of it now. ¬†I still think she did pretty decent. ¬†I really need to start digging up some more of Casey Affleck’s roles. ¬†Any recommendations?

gone baby gone 3

This was adapted from a novel (from what I’ve read) with the same name by Dennis Lehane. ¬†It has now been added to my to-read list. ¬†I’m sure that if the movie can be this intriguing, the source material is probably going to be 20 times better. ¬†At least thats the usual case, we’ll see when I get to check it out. The story was just so captivating and mysterious. ¬†The intensity was over the top crazy. ¬†At the end of the movie (for those who know it), it had me and my boyfriend thinking a lot. ¬†We even engaged in a discussion about the ending at 1am ¬†or something, which is not very often that it happens.

gone baby gone 1

I would definitely recommend this movie. ¬†I don’t know if Argo can beat it but this movie ranks higher than The Town to me so far. ¬†The story is suspenseful, the cast is fantastic and it’ll bring you for an unpredictable and intense ride and possibly leave you with a good amount of thinking at the end. ¬†Affleck’s career as a director is one that I respect a lot right now and I hope to see more movies from him that are as great as this one.