Monday, November 4, 2013

Wknd Box Office: About Time, Ender’s Game, Last Vegas, Capital

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

By Debbie Schlussel

One absolutely terrific new movie debuting at theaters today:

* “About Time“: I loved this movie! It features something of a dinosaur, unfortunately, in today’s movies: a loving, terrific father in a nuclear family. Imagine that (instead of the Marxist Hollywood decades-long push to demonize fathers in movies–portraying them absent, deadbeats, dopes, losers, cheaters, and/or criminals–so that big government can take dad’s place).

When he turns 21, Tim (Domhnall Gleason) learns from his father (the always excellent Bill Nighy) that the males in the family have a special power: they can travel back in time (but not into the future) and back to the present. Thereafter, Tim uses this power to go back in time to fix things for himself and friends and to make sure he meets the woman of his dreams (Rachel McAdams). While the movie may sound like it’s about superpowers and science fiction, it is really about the love of a father for his son and the love of a son for his father.

The movie is a comedy, a drama, and fabulous science fiction all rolled up into one. Extremely touching. If you are close to your dad, as I was, you’ll really like this. And even if you were not, it’s a great movie anyway. Very funny and entertaining. I laughed a lot.

Beware, though: this isn’t for kids. There is one stupid joke about oral sex (which took away from the movie, in my view), and it’s an adult movie, with adult themes. While not a family viewing movie, it’s a great movie for adults.


 “Ender’s Game“: This is based on a series of futuristic, science fiction books aimed at young adults by Orson Scott Card (who is under attack for being anti-gay). It’s been compared to “The Hunger Games,” although I liked it much better than “The Hunger Games” movie (read my review).

I had mixed feelings about this movie. I loved the first two-thirds of it. During that part, the movie is about logic and smarts, and rewarding those who employ them. But it eventually turns into a peacenik flick. I felt like I was watching a movie in which Israel finally destroys the Palestinians but then its top general goes back to bring them back to life, or America destroys Islamic extremists completely and then its top commander goes back to resurrect them. That’s essentially what happens in this movie (without Israel or Islam). In the end, the enemy is the “helpless” victim, despite attacks and attempts to destroy Earth. Not my kind of message. Also, isn’t it interesting that the one boy who is nice to the main character is, the movie makes very clear, a Muslim? Please, Hollywood, enough of the blatant propaganda.

The main character, Ender, is played by Asa Butterfield, a terrific English actor whom I’ve liked and praised since he starred, at age nine, in “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” (read my review). Now 16, he does a great American accent.

It’s the future, and Earth has been attacked by aliens from another planet (the aliens resemble giant moths). The aliens nearly destroyed Earth and are likely to attack again, as they’ve been using another nearby planet as a base for training. Therefore, the general (Harrison Ford) recruits the best, smartest young kids to train as warriors to fight the aliens and keep them from taking over the earth.

Ender who is quite young and small is smart and logical beyond his years. He already thinks like a commander, and Ford sees that. Ender is promoted to special advanced training for warfare against the aliens. All of the other kids in the training resent Ender because they know he is better and smarter than they are and will beat them to the top. At this point, the only kid who is nice to Ender is a Muslim kid, who wishes him, “As Salaam Aleikum,” the Muslim greeting of “peace be unto you.” Bullying, the use of young children as warriors, and other issues are also part of the movie.

The movie has terrific special effects and is riveting and suspenseful. But, like I said, its peacenik, anti-war message in the end is annoying and harmful. There is nothing wrong with eliminating an enemy bent on destroying you. When (and if) the West finally realizes that, we’ll all be better off.


 “Last Vegas“: This is another movie about which I had mixed emotions. But, mostly, I didn’t like it. Four older guys who’ve been friends since high school, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert De Niro, get together in Las Vegas for the wedding of Michael Douglas (who is about to turn 71 in this movie) to his 30-something girlfriend.

This movie has been described as “The Hangover” (read my review) for old men, and in many ways it is. That’s what I hated about it. Kline–who was made to look even older than his 66 years–is creepy as an oversexed old man walking around with a condom and Viagra (given to him by his wife) and constantly seeking sex with young women (encouraged to do so by his wife). And I could have done without the melodrama. The only likable characters are De Niro, who is a widower still hung up on the death of the love of his life, his childhood sweetheart, and Freeman, who is struggling to break away from his hovering, over-protective son. De Niro and Douglas–who is some sort of successful Hollywood figure in this movie–have some sort of feud, which seems manufactured for the movie (and it is).

While the senior citizens market at the movies has been neglected, and Hollywood is now trying to take advantage of this, I found this movie to be more cheesy, corny, and dopey than endearing, even with the happy ending and Mary Steenburgen thrown in as the classy age-appropriate love interest. Yes, some of this movie is endearing and funny, but most of it just isn’t.

Leave “The Hangover” to the younger crowd. Or, better yet, just leave it altogether.


* “Le Capital [Capital]: This mostly French movie (some of it is in English) with English subtitles is mildly entertaining and is supposed to be comical (though it isn’t much). But, overall, it’s your typical French socialist attack on American capitalism.

Marc (Gad Elmaleh) is the assistant to the CEO of a French bank and has ghostwritten his books. But when the CEO’s testicular cancer (the movie’s subtitle calls it “balls cancer”) comes to light, Marc is appointed to take the CEO’s place temporarily. The knives are out for Marc, and he’s expected to do as he’s told while a real CEO successor is sought. But, instead, Marc takes the job by the reins and does the bidding of the bank’s American hedge fund investors (headed by Gabriel Byrne), who want large cuts in staff to make their stock shares in the bank and profits to go up. He does the cuts, but only after making it seem like he’s championing the views of the workers and firing those execs whom the workers don’t like.

Soon the Americans want Marc to buy a worthless Japanese bank so that the bank stock will sink and they can pick up the rest of the bank stock cheaply. Marc will be the fall guy for all of this, and he knows it. Throughout the story, Marc is chasing after a black supermodel, who is using him for money and keeps teasing him.

The movie’s message is that American capitalists make French business leaders act in horrible ways, make massive firings, and ruin people’s lives. The French socialist ways of waste are “better.”

Um, no thanks.


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