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Brooklyn (2015)


Sophia – The time period was what first drew my attention to this movie. I have really enjoyed some of the other work of Saoirse Ronan (I’m still not sure how to pronounce that), so I figured we could give it a try. If I could wrap this movie up in one word it would be this: Disjointed. I’m not sure if that’s a result of the story, the acting, the directing, the editing, but it doesn’t flow. It’s the kind of movie where you finish it, look at each other and say, “uhhh, it was….ok?”

Story line: Innocent, naive, but self-possessed Irish girl moves to Brooklyn to make a better life for herself. Family-friendly tone is smashed to bits when her cabin-mate on the voyage to NYC spews out misplaced, unnecessary language. There was literally NO reason to react that way, lady. Stop trying to be currently relevant *eye roll*

She gets a job, makes friends, finds herself, meets a guy, falls in love, becomes independent, takes the plunge – gets married, and then gets terrible news from home and has to return. And then….AND THEN!!! *grrr….snort* seemingly forgets about the character she’s supposed to have and the growth she’s supposedly made and is like “Hurdy, gurdy, gurdy – maybe I’ll just abandon everything I’ve come to believe in and behave like a simpering 12-year-old” – I know I’m super subtle, but that part was irritating. There’s a relatively satisfying conclusion, but the conflict was either grossly under-developed or just reeeeeally dumb.

Final thoughts: Costumes were UH-MAY-ZING. Music was fun, but could have utilized the Irish influence WAY more, and in a much better way. That was disappointing.

Arabella – Hmmm…yet another movie devoid of a Hiddles. Disappointing how under utilized that man is. BUT! This movie was definitely enjoyable as I was in the midst of watching it! At the end, though… The storyline is captivating and I’m always a sucker for UK accents in a period drama. You were definitely carried along as this innocent young girl (Eilis – pronounced AYH-lish…gorgeous!!) moves from her small hometown in Ireland to the brash and terrifying world of New York, tries to make friends and do well in her job, and ultimately falls for (and marries…that’s important) a heart-on-the-sleeve Italian guy. Adorbs. Then the movie decides it no longer wants to be going in this direction so the character is dragged back to Ireland to meet a lovely, rich Irish guy of good standing (Mad-Eye Moody’s son and the evil Hitler character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens…think red-headed and shouty…), get a job that she really likes and is good at, and fall in love/confusion all over again as she tries to decide which life she wants to lead. It’s mightily irritating because she leads on this nice Irish guy (I’m also a fan of his brother’s acting. Such an artistic dynasty! Just…without the inbreeding and killing that most dynasties include…) and then *SPOILER ALERT!!* when she decides to go back to her husband like an adult and moral person, she DOESN’T EVEN TELL THE IRISH GUY TO HIS FACE!!! She cowards out and writes him a note, slipped through his mail slot. Sheeeeeesh! Could you BE any more offensive?! So…anyway…all in all, it’s an irritating movie. But the costumes are cute! And several characters have Irish accents! That’s something…

Favourite Line: “And then I went up to his face and told him the truth, like a brave person. I said ‘Thanks for the proposal but I’m already married.’ and that was that. Because we’re both adults and we act like adults.” – Ok, I made up this quote. Mainly because it’s what I wish she would have said…

Obscenities– There is the aforementioned language and then a relatively small smattering of other language thrown in throughout the movie. The problem with the language in this movie is that 1) it’s not predictable and 2) it’s really REALLY unnecessary. Because of the heavy Irish influence in the movie, the exclamations tend to have religious bents to them, which is most unappreciated.

Sex – Ok, we have a confession. We’re scene skippers. We saw the scene coming from a MILE away, and we skipped it. To sum up – they get married and then get earthy. We love the term earthy, and we’ll probably use it a lot. P&S definition of earthy: Any and all forms of doing the sexes. We know it happens, we just don’t want to see it.

Also, this is a movie about people falling in love, so there is various and sundry smooching throughout the movie. It’s a pretty cute relationship, so the romance is endearing, but if affection makes you uncomfortable, this might not be the movie for you. Also, maybe get some help for that.

Audience – If you’re a teen who understands the basics of relationships, this movie is probably fine for you. Maybe still watch it with someone older so that you get an answer when you ask the inevitable question, “Why is she being such a twang-doodle?!”

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Captain America: Civil War


Sophia – I have to say first and foremost – TEAM BUCKY!! But on the chance my preference for him be mistakenly attributed solely to his chiseled jaw and tortured bad-boy persona, “let me ‘splain. No, it would take too long, let me sum up” (you’re welcome) –  I’m a Bucky fan because of his friendship with Steve. Now, in this movie and in Winter Soldier, Steve is the one trying to save and care for Bucky, but let’s rewind. Let’s rewind to a bullied, overlooked, orphaned Steve from Brooklyn who had this friend, Bucky, who just wouldn’t quit on him. Bucky, who came to Steve’s defence in a fistfight and tried to get him dates and brought Steve into his family when Steve had lost his own. That…THAT is why I am team Bucky. *steps off soapbox*

I have two words for you – motorcycle scene. You’ll know it when you see it. *SO* *AWESOME*

I have four more words for you – Steve holding the helicopter. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! *gasp* AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!! No, seriously, you cannot miss it.

So, one of my personal beefs with the Marvel universe has always been Tony Stark. He’s…just….ugh! Arrogant, entitled, playboy – sure, I get that. But he sees the consequences of his choices and is tortured by them and then, naturally, goes out and MAKES THE SAME CHOICES!! I repeat….ugh. Until now. In this movie, we see Tony making choices that will limit his seemingly limitless power, we see him broken by the suffering of others (both strangers and friends), and we see him being willing to let go of things that he’s held onto so closely because he sees that it might be better if he’s not holding them (i.e. Pepper).

Note on the soundtrack – part of the soundtrack was choral and it was very cool. I don’t always notice the music in these because it’s basically Jerry Bruckheimer on steroids, with the exception of some awesomeness whenever Iron Man enters the scene.

Arabella – Ok. Interesting. I wasn’t expecting to like this movie as much as I did. Over the past few years and the accompanying 7 million Marvel movies that Disney has been cramming down our throats, I lost the magic. Unsurprisingly, something about a massive soulless corporation out to make billions of dollars from every uninspired superhero fist-fight-on-steroids makes me think they don’t really care about emotional stakes or believable character development. Tragically, all they have to do is slap some terribly awkward dialogue in between wildly ripped men smashing the life out of each other and scores of people will come to see it…including me. But I make sure to loudly complain about how stupid and unbelievable the Marvel universe has become! So I take my stand. And while Civil War stuck to the Marvel recipe for success, at least this time they gave me a movie I could enjoy along the way.

So the things that I really enjoyed about this movie shall be listed first. Mostly, I really enjoyed seeing a division between characters that care for each other, think that they’re morally right and those that disagree are morally wrong, and feel the need to take a stand against each other, no matter how difficult that may be. I feel like the emotional oompf was back in this movie because beating a bad guy and subsequently removing them from the story has a vastly different feel from beating a friend whom you love but with whom you deeply disagree. That means more and has more weight, both for character development as well as audience enjoyment. The central conflict is between Captain America (obvsie!) and Iron Man, with the peripheral characters drawn in by necessity,  and it culminates in a VERY INTENSE!!! fight scene at the end of the movie. So much punching, but the movie has set up the emotional weight behind each blow and we can see very clearly on the character’s faces that every second of this is breaking something between them. All of this is laid against a backdrop of beeeeeeeeautiful, swelling orchestral music, highlighting the wild emotional intensity as Cap and Iron Man furiously fight towards the end. It’s just…wow. Yeah. I’m a fan! I’m also a fan of the lighter, more fun (?!) fight scenes. The motorcycle scene Sophia mentions, while defying many laws of physics, is pretty cool and there’s a scene where a lot of the characters come to fisticuffs with the aforementioned super awesome (but tragically brainwashed) Bucky, and the choreography for that scene is mightily enjoyable for me!

The things I don’t like are fairly easy to predict. There is unnecessary language in the movie and a whole (mercifully short!) scene of unnecessary exposition that is in the movie (I can only assume) ONLY to set up a storyline that they will later develop. I’m not sure if they were trying to sneak in something that is meant to be a surprise later but it was so awkward and oddly-placed that they may as well have had a giant neon sign flashing “THIS WILL COME UP AGAIN!!!! PAY SOME ATTENTION BUT NOT ENOUGH TO NOT BE SHOCKED AT THE BIG REVEAL!!!!! Oh! And also…WE THINK YOU’RE A BIT STUPID AS AN AUDIENCE!”…it would have to be a very large sign…

Favourite Line: Iron Man: Do you even remember them?” Bucky: “I remember all of them.” – It doesn’t have a lot of weight until you watch the movie but once you do you realize what kind of demons Bucky faces every day. Deeply moving…

Favourite funny line: “Are you Tony…Stank?” – Hee hee hee…one of the only Stan Lee appearances I like!

Obscenities – There is a smattering of what the cool kids are calling “mild obscenities” throughout the movie. There are also a handful of religious exclamations. The “nice” thing about these kinds of movies is that if you’re trying to avoid language, you’ll eliminate a lot of it by muting character’s reaction to the receipt of bad news – it’s pretty predictable.

Sex – There’s a kiss, and the reaction to it was hilarious. I laughed uproariously. Poor Steve just needs someone to LOVE him!

Audience – This is an action/superhero movie. There is fighting, violence and explosions. This should not be a shock to you, but if it is, well, you probably won’t get the whole tone of this blog anyway. Also, there are torture scenes. So, even older kids who are sensitive might be bothered by that.

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Sense & Sensibility (1995/2008)






Sophia – Both of these versions are really, REALLY good. The 1995 version has Emma Thompson in it, and, well, it’s EMMA THOMPSON. So, that makes it amazing. The relationship between Marianne and Elinor was very much like best friends, with Thompson brilliantly playing the ever-so-slightly-bossy older sister. The scene where Marianne is sick and Elinor is begging her to stay alive? I weep. EVERY. TIME. The 2008 version’s relationship was a lot more big sister/little sister. While they were still affectionate and close, Elinor’s protective side toward Marianne was very dominant. The one area where I feel the 2008 vastly outshines the 1995 is in the scene after Marianne falls sick. Willoughby comes to visit and Elinor lays out some smack-down that this older sister can’t help but cheer on. He’s like, “Whine, whine, my life isn’t what I want,” and she’s like, “get……….out” – MIC DROP!

OK, let’s be honest – 1995 brought us a Mr. McHottie-Pants in the form of Willoughby. 2008 was fine, and quite charming, but he’s no McHottie-Pants.

Both of these versions have exceptionally beautiful soundtracks. The 2008 has AMAZING landscape shots that make me want to go to the English coastal countryside immediately.

Fun Fact: Emma Thompson went on to marry Greg Wise (the aforementioned McHottie Willoughly) whom she met on the set of S&S – that woman has good taste.

Arabella – Hiddleston sightings – nil. So there’s that. On with the business at hand! This is a good story and I love seeing it adapted! I’ve always been a fan of Margaret (the youngest sister) as a rare glimpse of childhood in the Regency era. I feel like there’s a good amount of screen time devoted to her in both versions of the story and plenty of cringe-worthy social blunders that make her family incredibly uncomfortable. “Yeah my sister DOES like someone! I won’t tell you who it is but I’ll give you enough fodder to gossip on about it for the rest of the movie! After all, what else do you have to do?”. I am also a giant fan of sister stories (for no obvious reason I can think of) but I have yet to meet a Marianne that I can get behind. Her character is written in such a way that she is completely self-absorbed and blind to the emotional situation of anyone else. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE how dramatic and hopelessly romantic Marianne is. Are you sad and upset? Morbid poetry and long walks in the rain are basically the only cure. BUT Marianne is so absorbed with her own feelings that she has no concept that Elinor is suffering, too. NOT COOL! That is your sister, brah! Smarten up! Just once I would love to see the Marianne/Elinor relationship played more as best friends and less as close-acquaintances-who-happen-to-be-related. The 2008 version softens the harsh lines of this sister relationship a little better than the 1995 version but neither are awesome.

We must now discuss my 2 favourite characters in this story! We shall start with the shy and withdrawn Edward Ferrars. You now know the correct spelling of that character’s name! Merry Christmas. The 2008 version of him is definitely the best! 1995’s Hugh Grant is a bit wooden and boring in his portrayal of ‘shy’ and I have a hard time believing that Emma Thomson could fall for his drone and the weird mask-like quality of his face. Plus his Regency-style shirt collar and cravat is waaaaaay too tall (eliminating his neck entirely) and makes it look like someone stole Hugh’s head and balanced it precariously on a Regency Ken doll’s body. Just sayin’. You can’t unsee that now. My second favourite is…wait for it…Colonel Brandon! Duh. How could you not love this guy? He’s sensitive and sweet and has heartbreak in his past, making him strong and silent and incredibly defensive of those he loves. I’m a sucker for that. While I do enjoy the extra time for Brandon character development in the 2008 version, no one could replace Alan Rickman and his beautiful bass voice.

Favorite Line: 1995 – “No voice divine the storm ALLAY’D! No LIGHT propitious SHONE. When snatched from all effectual aAaAAID…we perished each alone.”                                          2008 – I can’t think of one I like best of all. Let’s go with…all of them? It’s a cop out, I know…I fail…

Obscenities – Nothing to speak of in 1995. 2008 has some mild obscenities, but nothing drastically offensive.

Sex – The 2008 version includes a completely unnecessary, but very skip-able scene (it’s the very first scene), where you see Willoughby in a dalliance with the young woman he later abandons. It’s less explicit and graphic and more, “Why is it so dark? Is that a leg or an arm? WHAT IS GOING ON?!”

Audience – Once again this is a costume drama and the conversation style is correspondingly awesome so if anyone objects to that they should stay away…from the movie and probably from this blog, too.