Category: Movies

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina (2012)
Anna Karenina (2012)

So, I was bored the other night and scrolling through Netflix, and decided to watch Anna Karenina.  I’ve done a lot of things recently that are period related (mostly Jane Austen related, actually) and thought why not.

I have not read Anna Karenina, and I have not watched any other movie adaptations.  I basically knew nothing of the story.  I’m not sure if knowing the story or having read the book would have changed how I looked at the movie. I mean, undoubtedly it would have made it different, but I believe my opinion overall wouldn’t have changed.  I have no idea if the book is written in the same style as the movie, but I do plan on reading it to see. 

I had recently watched Pride and Prejudice (for the umpteenth time), and so my expectations going into Anna Karenina were probably along those lines.  Those expectations were promptly thrown out the window, as the set up and progression of the movie is not what I would consider typical.

 The movie opens and as it moves through it looks as though you’re watching someone put on a play.  The viewer is given glimpses of the behind-the-scenes setup.  At first I thought maybe there’s a play in the story, and that the movie would then progress in a more typical fashion.

I was intrigued when it did not and began wondering just what was going on.  The same setting was used for different pieces of the story that had no connection in the beginning of the movie.  The viewer saw scene changes and costume changes.  We were led up to the catwalks to another setting, and from the height looked down on the scene below.  This elaborate play setting was interspersed with other settings, however almost all of them kept the feel of being a play.  At times the background of a scene would look as if it were made of cardboard, and then would change to a live action setting.

It was a unique way (at least to me) to have the movie play out and one that I found myself enjoying after the initial confusion.  That bit of what I would call whimsy or quirkiness kept me involved in the story.  I was always interested to see how the next scene would play out.

The acting was well done, as one would expect from the names attached.  I will confess it took me a bit to recognize Matthew MacFayden, even after having just watched Pride and Prejudice two nights before.  I’ve been a fan of Keira Knightley from the start, and I think period pieces are where she shines.

Jurassic World vs. Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

I went to the theater and saw Jurassic World with my nephew not long after it came out.  When we were leaving he asked me what I thought of it, and I replied with something akin to “It’s not Jurassic Park.”  He scoffed at me, as teenagers do, and we continued on our way.  I had trouble explaining to my nephew just what it was that was off for me, I just knew it wasn’t Jurassic Park.  I didn’t have the same feelings watching Jurassic World as I did with Jurassic Park.

Later, I went and saw Jurassic World again with my best friend, and at the end of the movie asked her what she thought and related the above anecdote.  She asked me what I meant, and I kind of thought here we go again, since I’d already had trouble explaining this difference once.  However, she understood what I was trying to explain, and was able to sum it up nicely.  Jurassic Park is a suspense movie, and Jurassic World is an action movie. 

When I heard her say that I exclaimed “Exactly!” That was the difference I was trying to put my finger on, and couldn’t quite articulate.  Part of the problem for me was that I don’t think I’d ever tried to categorize Jurassic Park.  When explaining it I described the sense of tension I felt throughout the movie, and that’s what lead to the categorization of a suspense movie. 


Now, all that being said, even though I didn’t have a concise categorization of Jurassic World, I enjoyed it much more the second time through.  I knew what to expect and I wasn’t going in thinking it would have the same kind of feel as Jurassic Park.  Chris Pratt as Owen Grady is easily the best part of Jurassic World.  I also liked Lowery (who I thought was named Larry until I caught his name in the credits after the second viewing). 

My favorite dinosaurs were the Velociraptors, made even better since Owen trained them and the “raptor pack” was able to be born.  The “big bad” dinosaur, Indominus Rex, wasn’t bad.  She had some cool abilities, but I feel some of the awe and scariness was lost in the way she interacted with the people and the environment.  I felt there was a lot more  general destruction, rather than hunting.  

Both movies are a lot of fun, but for me Jurassic Park is definitely the winner. 

Phoebe in Wonderland

The description on Netflix for Pheobe in Wonderland doesn’t tell you much about the story, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out what the movie was really about.  Even though I didn’t know much about it, I decided to curl up and watch this movie last night.  I think what caught my eye was the image for the movie, and that the main character was played by Elle Fanning.  I’ve also found that I really enjoy the Alice in Wonderland story, and anything having to do with that seems to catch my eye.


I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m not going to say much here.  Elle Fanning does a fantastic job at playing Phoebe, a little girl who uses Wonderland as an escape.  The story is told well, with the fantastic elements expected of anything associated with Wonderland, and a grip on reality that’s almost heartbreaking as you watch what Phoebe and her family go through.  I laughed, and I cried, and had a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with how the ending unfolded.

This isn’t really a kids movie, it’s actually rated PG-13, so don’t think that just because Wonderland is involved it’s something for the little ones.  It is, however, a very good story that I highly recommend.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Last night I watched The Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage.  It was a cute movie, and rather enjoyable overall.  However it was geared towards a younger audience and some of the plot seemed a bit too convenient.  Dave, the kid who becomes the apprentice, is not very good with magic which makes for some fun scenes in the movie.  He is very good at science, and the subplot of how he gets the girl was rather enjoyable.  I liked the Tesla coils reacting to music.  That’s probably my favorite scene in the movie.

The end of the movie is one of those moments where everything worked out just a little too easily.  I like the way things turned out, and it’s definitely a Disney ending, but I feel that it should have been a little harder for Dave.  I was happy that he put his knowledge of science to us in helping defeat the bad guys, rather than everything being reliant on magic.

I’d give it three stars, maybe four.  Definitely a fun movie for the family, and one I enjoyed watching.  I’d suggest renting it if you’re interested.

A Wrinkle in Time (2003)

A Wrinkle in Time (2003)

wrinkleintime.jpgIt’s been a fair amount of time since I’ve read the Madeleine L’Engle books, and therefore I think watching the movie was an easier and more enjoyable experience.  I wasn’t caught in the trap of constantly comparing the two and trying to find the flaws in the adaptation.  Even for as long as the movie was (over two hours), I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The acting was done really well, the boy playing Charles Wallace was spot on.  He was also the little boy in The Ring, and I think he has a knack for roles of odd/precocious children.  All the characters were basically what I remembered from the books.  It was fun to get acquainted with them all again.  The imagery in the movie was very vivid and encompassing.  Parts were cheesy, like the travel through the tesseract, but that’s to be expected to a degree.  And the movie didn’t take it too far, so while it was cheesy, it was still acceptable and easy to look past.  The places they visited though, were amazing.  I particularly enjoyed the cavern of the Happy Medium, where the glow worms fed off of laughter.

It was a very nice way to spend the evening, and I’m glad I decided to bump this to the top of my queue and watch it.  I think it’s a great movie for kids and adults alike.