Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Gnomeo and Juliet

March 7, 2011

Yesterday, the whole family went to see Gnomeo and Juliet at the Marcus Majestic and we had a fantastic time. This is a really funny movie. Although, AJ and Erin are older now, I noticed that many of the younger kids in the theatre really enjoyed the physical humor and antics in the movie. Those things were also funny for the older kids and the adults. In addition, however, the Shakespeare puns and the pop culture references made it even funnier. The movie has that irreverent quality reminiscent of Shrek or Hoodwinked. I assume that is why Disney put it under its Touchstone label. It definitely isn’t your typical Disney animated feature.

The movie is a modern retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with all the major characters cast as blue and red garden gnomes and lawn ornaments in the gardens of Miss Montague and Mr. Capulet. Many of the story’s major characters appear; Gnomeo (Romeo), Juliet, Benny (Benvolio), Tybalt, and Paris. Interestingly, the Shakespeare references and puns come from a variety of his plays and writings not just this one. At the opening of the movie, the house numbers on these two house are shown as 2B and another 2B with a “not” symbol over it. This was just the beginning. I especially liked the part where Gnomeo is telling his woes to the park statue of William Shakespeare voiced by the great Shakespearean actor, Patrick Stewart. Additionally, there are liberal amounts of pop culture references including the every popular “What is it boy? Little Timmy fell down the well?” and many others.

If you are an Elton John fan, I think that almost every musical number in the movie was an Elton tune of some sort, except of course, for “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” song from the popular Disney attraction. I’m sure it helps that he was the Executive Producer on the film. We saw the 2D version of the movie and I don’t think that we missed anything by not seeing the 3D version. It was a fun movie and I will probably see it again when it comes out on DVD.


Navy Pier

April 12, 2010

I took the day off on Friday so that the whole family could do something fun together during spring break. We discussed many options and settled on taking the train to Chicago and doing some fun things at Navy Pier. Although we could have woke up at the crack of dawn to get on the 8am train, we opted to sleep in and take the 11am train instead. The train ride down to Chicago was fun and uneventful. I sat with Erin and we had a good time talking and taking in the sites along the way. Once there, we took the city bus to Navy Pier which was surprisingly empty on at mid-day on a Friday.

After grabbing a quick lunch in the Navy Pier food court (everyone got exactly what they wanted to eat – I had a Gyro), we headed over to the IMAX theatre where we got to see How To Train Your Dragon in 3D. It was an awesome movie… REALLY AWESOME. And the 3D was amazing. I haven’t seen any of the recent full-length 3D movies; only a couple of the lame ones from the late 80s in which the main characters were pointing or throwing something at the audience every few minutes. The 3D effects of this movie were so immersive. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we were seeing it on the IMAX screen. Oh… and the storyline was classic Dreamworks. It reminded me of the Shrek movies.

After the movie, we walked down to the Pier amusement park and took a trip on the 150 foot high Ferris Wheel. The included picture shows Kristi, A.J., and Erin at the base of the ride just after we finished. Following the ride, we walked all the way down to the end of the pier and snapped a few more photos. On the way back down the pier, we stopped at a funhouse maze called Amazing Chicago. It was sort of fun to go through once but not worth the $10 per person price.

We got back to Union Station at 7pm with plenty of time to spare for 8pm train ride back to Milwaukee only to find out that the train had hit a pedestrian in Oak Creek earlier in the afternoon and wasn’t available to take us to Milwaukee. That caused a little panic for us for a couple of minutes. Luckily, the nice people at Amtrak hired a fleet of coach buses to take all of the passengers that were waiting to board the train. We were fortunate enough to get on the first express bus back to Milwaukee and only arrived about 15 minutes after scheduled train arrival time.

All in all, it was a very exciting, fun, and unusually interesting day with the family.

A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine

April 3, 2010

Last night, Kristi and I went to the Skylight Opera Theatre to see A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had in a long time. The show was extremely entertaining. The first act, A Day in Hollywood, featured a group of ushers at Grauman’s Chinese Theater singing and tap dancing a tribute to the Hollywood movies and songs of the 1930s. At the end of the act, they announce that there will be Marx Brothers feature coming up after the intermission.

The second act, A Night in the Ukraine, is reminiscent of the old Marx Brothers movies. It is a blending of two Anton Chekhov plays, The Bear: A Joke in One Act and The Seagull with Groucho, Harpo, and Chico Marx in three of the main roles. The antics are classic Marx Brothers and the show is so campy that we couldn’t stop laughing.

I really enjoyed watching some of Milwaukee finest local actors on-stage. Ray Jivoff, Norman Moses, Melinda Pfundstein and Molly Rhode were but a few of the talented members of this all-star cast. I would love to recommend that you go see this show but, unfortunately, it closes tomorrow. I really love the fact that there is so much wonderful live theatre in Southeastern Wisconsin. We are so lucky.

Disney/Pixar’s Up

July 24, 2009

Last Sunday, we decided to go to the theater to see Disney/Pixar’s Up. We saw the 2D version but I can’t imagine how it would have been any better in 3D. Disney and Pixar have an incredible history of great storytelling and this movie was no different. It was extremely well done. The story has ample amounts of action and comedy to appeal to the younger audience. It also contained several references to some of great movies of the past that only the older kids or adults would get. What was interesting to me was that this movie had a wonderful human element that made it very touching in a couple of places. So much so, that both Kristi and I were misting up for about 30 seconds near the end of the movie.

Pixar movies have always been awesome but the last five have each been better than the last. They rank among my all-time favorite movies. For those that can’t remember which ones I’m talking about, they are: The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up. We currently own the DVDs for two of these as well as Monsters Inc. (another awesome film). I can’t wait to get the rest of them as well. They are fun to watch over and over.

Conversation – Day Four

September 9, 2008

Okay….. A little too touchy feely on the pride thing. So let’s try something not so close to the heart. How about favorite movies?

  • North By Northwest: Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant. I love most of the Hitchcock movies and Cary Grant is one of my all-time favorite actors. It is such an intense movie.
  • Shag, The Movie: Every time I watch this movie, I remember what it felt like to live in coastal North Carolina when I was in the Marine Corps.
  • Bell, Book, and Candle: Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. In college, Kristi and I saw this in some guy’s garage that he had converted into a movie theater. He even sold popcorn and candy. It wasn’t as weird as it sounds.
  • Tomb Raider: I know, I know… it’s all about Angelina Jolie in skimpy outfits. But, come on… sometimes you have to enjoy the eye candy.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: The special effects and battle scenes are almost as good as in LoTR but without the Orcs. I also like Prince Caspian as well sometimes even better.
  • The American President: It is a total chick flick but it is also the starting point for the TV series The West Wing. I really like Michael Douglas in this. I also like him a lot in The Game.
  • Office Space: This is a classic for anyone that works in a cubicle; especially an IT professional like me. I almost fell off my chair the first time I saw the “paper jam” scene. So many of the situations in this movie have been paralleled in my own work experiences.
  • What are your favorite movies?

    The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian

    May 27, 2008

    Yesterday, as a family, we went to see the new Narnia movie, Prince Caspian. I can truly say that I was as impressed with this one as I was with the first one. It was absolutely amazing. It has been a while since I read the book, so I am not sure how close it is to the actual story. I do know that Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C.S. Lewis, was the co-producer of both this movie and the first one and I believe he is doing all he can to ensure that the movies stay fairly true to the original books.

    The scenery was amazingly beautiful. The actors did an exceptional job. It was just enjoyable to watch. I’m sure that all the young girls will think that Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) is just dreamy. Personally, I think that the girl that plays Susan Pevensie, Anna Popplewell, is very pretty and should get as much admiration from the young men in the audience. The movie is two and half hours long and some may think it a bit too long but it didn’t drag a bit during that entire time. Just make sure you don’t drink all of your “Large” soda too early into the movie… I’m just sayin’.

    I will talk about specifics below the cut.

    Shadowlands, The Movie

    May 26, 2008

    Kristi found the VHS version of the Shadowlands movie at the Menomonee Falls Public Library the other day. I watched it yesterday and I have to say that I really wasn’t impressed. It stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Gresham. It is my impression from everything that I have read and heard that Joy and Lewis were nearly intellectual equals. I don’t know if it was the Brooklyn accent that Winger was using or the way she carried herself, but she didn’t come across as being very smart at all. Several of her lines and the way she presented them almost made her seem jealous of his intellect.

    Additionally, there were a lot of humorous moments between Lewis and his brother that were played very flat. I got about halfway through the movie and I had to convince myself to keep watching. I know that this is a drama and a sad movie at that, but even the upbeat parts of the movie were downright depressing. I really only finished watching the movie to be able compare the entire movie to the play.

    I know that our little community theatre production of Shadowlands at Acacia Theatre Company can’t compare to big budget film by Sony Pictures. I have to say that Michael and Mo seemed to give Lewis and Gresham more depth than I saw on the screen. I am sure that part of this critique is personal bias but I can truly say that if I hadn’t been in the show, I would not have finished the movie.


    November 25, 2007

    We went to see Enchanted, Disney’s newest princess film, at the Marcus Majestic on Friday. It is a wonderful film. It referenced many of the other princess movies in various ways and although it seemed like it would be a parody of them, it wasn’t. It has its own unique brand of Happily-Ever-After that you haven’t seen before. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you any of the plot but they did a fantastic job of blending the animation and the live action. Better than the classics of Bednobs and Broomsticks and Mary Poppins. I will suggest that you not wait for it to come out on DVD. Go see it in the theater.

    And speaking of seeing it in the theater, we saw it on the Ultrascreen at the Majestic and we paid the extra cash to get the VIP seats. We were in the front row of the VIP seats which are at the back of the theater. These seats are very similar to the standard Midwest Airlines seats. They have an amazing amount of walking space between rows and between every two seats there is a large platform for you to set popcorn, soda, and other items on. Each seat gets a free bucket of popcorn. It really makes for a fabulous movie experience. We don’t go to movies that often, so we didn’t mind the extra money. It will make seeing a movie in the regular seats very difficult from now on.

    The Da Vinci Code

    October 15, 2007

    Kristi and I rented The Da Vinci Code last week. We had both read the book previously and although it didn’t get great reviews, we had wanted to see the movie. Big Mistake! Big! Huge!! I knew that with the book being as long as it was that they would have to cut a lot of the content and I was okay with that. However, I was very disappointed with the stuff that they kept in the movie. The movie has been out for more than a year. Out of respect for those that haven’t seen it yet, I will place my ranting below the cut.

    The Order of the Phoenix

    July 18, 2007

    On Sunday, A.J. and I went to see the latest Harry Potter film at the Marcus Majestic in Brookfield. We saw the film on one of the theater’s two UltraScreens. The theater is new and very nice. We learned a valuable lesson about arriving early at the UltraScreen. We got to the theater about 20 minutes before movie and it was already packed. We ended up sitting about 6 rows back from the screen. With a normal screen, that really isn’t a problem. When you are that close to a 72′ screen you end up practically moving your head back and forth to see all the action.

    A.J. have read all of the Harry Potter books and seen all of the movies as they have come out. We were pretty disappointed with this movie. The movie was all action and very little plot. If you didn’t know the story, it would be very hard to follow. In defense of the filmmakers, the book was extremely long and detailed. To do it justice, the movie would have needed to be at least 6 hours long. The audio book reading of the story takes 27 hours. That being said, the stuff that was included was watered down or completely different from the book. Maybe it was my closeness to the large screen but it seemed like things flew back and forth on the screen so much that you couldn’t really tell what they were.