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My joy for today is a summer blockbuster with heart.

A few nights ago, my husband and I saw the first movie together in a theater since the last Harry Potter. It was a rare, spur of the moment night out, along with my family.  We went to see the latest installation of the Men in Black series.  When Men in Black II came out, I was a college student, unmarried, and without children.  Fast forward a decade later, a husband, a home, and four children added to my life, and I hoped Men in Black III could deliver the same carefree summer fun of 10 years ago. I was looking forward to seeing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones together again.

The film did not disappoint, and actually surpassed my expectations.  It is rated PG-13, which is warranted mostly because of disgusting bad guy and typical sci-fi violence.  We had a fleeting thought of taking our 7 year old to see MIB III, but were immensely glad we decided against that.  The opening sequence of the movie is surprisingly disgusting and I would actually turn my head away from the screen many times, along with “ewww-ing” out loud.  After the initial sequence, establishing the conflict, the audience was treated to the return of Agents J and K.  Although I have not seen Will Smith in much lately, I believe he is a classic movie star of our time.  He is handsome, funny in a witty and sarcastic manner, and a smart, capable character in this film.  Tommy Lee Jones reminds me of older men in my family, and his dry humor and straight laced persona are classic.  Josh Brolin is absolutely amazing as a young Tommy Lee Jones.  His mannerisms, humor, and voice are dead on.  It is hard to believe you are not actually watching a younger Tommy Lee in the flesh.  The actor playing the villain, Boris the Animal, is Jemaine Clement.  I was not aware of him before this movie, but he perfectly portrays a bad guy.  There are no torturous feelings about actually caring about him or wondering why he is so evil.  He is an alien, the last of his kind, and he should not be allowed to continue living.  Pure and simple; just as a popcorn flick should be.

There are several inconsistencies in the time travel plot, but it is overall easy to follow and believable.  I will not give away the best aspects of the plot, but there is an unbelievably heartwarming and touching culmination to the film.  I actually had to wipe away tears.  The final scene is musically accompanied by one of my favorite songs, “Empire State of Mind” and with that, a summer blockbuster is complete.    This is a movie that needs to be seen in a theater.  Start your summer off right.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is another date afternoon, with a better movie.

My brother and I had been looking forward to Dark Shadows for a while.  Since neither of us are old enough to have seen the original soap opera from the 70’s, we were just pulled in by the Burton/Depp duo, as well as the entertaining “someone from the past is in the present day and doesn’t know about cars, roads, television, etc.” story line.  I love that from Hocus Pocus and it was enjoyable in this movie as well.  I also adore Michelle Pfeiffer, harkening back from her days as Catwoman in Batman Returns.  That was actually the first movie I ever owned, which I obtained at a silent auction in 7th grade.  Although it scared me a little, Tim Burton’s Gotham City will always be Gotham to me.

Dark Shadows was enjoyable, and despite having 4 kids at home, I never even checked my phone to see how much time was left.  In my opinion, there were several plots and genres happening within this movie, which kept this audience member entertained, yet also confused for a great deal of the movie.  From the previews, I thought it was going to be primarily a comedy, yet while watching it I felt it was somewhat in that category, but was also a romance, somewhat of a horror, and a drama.  One of the most confusing aspects of the movie was the rules on the supernatural.  Let me tell you about just a touch of the confusion:  this movie contains a vampire, a witch, a werewolf, several ghosts, and humans, some of which can see ghosts and some cannot.  But apparently, vampires cannot kill witches, werewolves cannot kill witches, some ghosts can defeat a witch, a witch doesn’t die, a vampire doesn’t die, a witch can set an entire factory on fire by looking at it, but has to kill people one by one.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Throughout so much of the movie, I felt like I needed a flow chart as to who was the most powerful and what special abilities they possessed.

Again, my astute filmmaking brother suggested that since Tim Burton and Johnny Depp wanted to make this movie based on a beloved, yet somewhat obscure soap opera, they/the studio/the Hollywood powers-that-be decided to make it at this moment in time, in order to ride the coattails of the vampire phenomenon.  Personally, I have totally avoided that craze until now.  I have not seen or read any of The Twilight saga, but while watching this movie, I felt that if I knew a little more about the rules of vampires, some of the plots in Dark Shadows would have been easier to understand.

With all that being said, this movie was fun.  In a lot of ways, I felt that it encompassed what we need as moviegoers a great deal of the time, which is a simple escape.  For a little under two hours, I was enthralled by Tim Burton’s Collinsport and Johnny Depp’s Barnabas Collins.  It was a lovely way to start Mother’s Day weekend, and to rejuvenate me to come home to put my precious little ones to bed and appreciate my family.  Like Barnabas says, “Blood is thicker than water.”

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is a horrible movie with an awesome date.

My brother and I went to see “The Five-Year Engagement” last night.  It was not good.  We literally warned people coming into the theater to go see something else.  Since this movie was playing against “The Avengers,” my astute, filmmaking, and future Oscar-winning brother, surmised that those involved in the production realized it was horrible, had to release it sometime, and figured they might as well release it around the same time as the first summer blockbuster, at a time when any movie would have a great deal of competition.

I knew it would not be the best movie ever when it was billed as a comedy, but had a running time over 2 hours long.  My general opinion is that no comedy should be longer than about 90 minutes.  There are obvious exceptions, anything by Wes Anderson clearly exempt from this rule.  In order to fill this amount of time, “The Five-Year Engagement” involved a great deal of random scenes, including a foot chase with martial arts, gratuitous awkward crude humor, a frozen toe, hunting, and an arrow in a leg, among many others.  When we were about 90 minutes into the movie, I was sure it would be over any minute.  Spencer informed me that there was at least 30 minutes left.  At this time, we almost totally stopped paying attention and just talked about life.  I really do not know how we would have endured this movie if there was one other person in the theater, for which we would have had to be polite and quiet.

I adored Jason Segel’s “The Muppets.”  I think Emily Blunt’s performance as an overworked assistant in “The Devil Wears Prada” was a brilliant comedic masterpiece.  There were many hilarious people in this movie- Chris Pratt, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell…  It was sad to see this movie fall apart with so many clearly talented contributors.

It had a few redeeming moments, particularly the ending, which was really adorable.  Interestingly, the ending was very reminiscent of a musical number from “The Muppets.”  This was the shining moment of the movie, which was no coincidence.  It has provided Spencer and I with a world of memories.  We will take away an awesome catch phrase.  I will use it in the last line of this post and do not feel bad about not being a part of our inside joke.  It’s easy enough to understand.  Wait for it…

If you see the movie, which I emphatically do not recommend, you will definitely feel like eating the day old doughnuts.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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