Slumdog Millionaire. 2008.


I heard about this movie from a couple people — that it was great — but I really knew very little about it.  Just the high level story of a boy who wins “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and then the look back into his life about why and how.  But I had no idea beyond that, and I won’t divulge more here.  Let me just say that it was a very good movie, and if you have not heard of it, don’t let that hold you back from going to see it!

I actually didn’t decide to see it until about 9 p.m. while finishing dinner in Old Town VA, and then I had quite a hike plus tram ride to get to the theater for the 9:50 showing.  It finished up around midnight, and I then had a 40 min hike across Alexandria and Old Town to my hotel.  I could have jumped into a hotel and gotten a cab, but that is a pretty safe area, and I love to walk.

The Tale of Despereaux. 2008.


Somewhat on the spur of the moment, due to a one day postponement in a trip to TN, we decided to take the kids to the movies and the only kids movie that was playing was the Tale of Despereaux.   I had not heard of it, but after watching the trailer , we decided to give it a shot.  What a pleasant surprise!  I had recently decided that almost every major studio other than Pixar, and even Pixar to some extent, tries to engage adults with humor and innuendo that is not appropriate for all ages, even in G-rated movies.  Despereaux does not do that at all, and what is even more interesting is that there is no hint of pop culture anywhere in the film.

Interestingly the article linked here came across one of my blog subscriptions after we got home, and it is worth a read.  If you are short on time, here is one important quote:

It’s not rooted in any time. It’s not rooted in pop culture or in the moment, and I think that’s what makes it lasting. I think there are people reading this now as a 9- or a 10-year-old who are going to read it to their kids, just as I my give things that I read as a child, just like my wife gives Charlotte’s Web to our child.

There are things about a fairy tale that are just so epic, and so human, that they really sort of transcend that. There’s nothing wrong with those pop culture movies—I mean, I go to them—but this was a chance to make something that’s hopefully very rich and classic, with a lot of wonderful themes that are going to last. That’s what Kate did, and that’s what we tried to do.

There was one line in the movie along the lines of “as long as you have hope, you are free…”  I have been trying to reconcile that with “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” but have not been able to do so yet.  :-/  It seems that the definition of freedom is a recurring theme on this blog… Check out this search link.

Recently watched movies…

Flying to Australia and back gives me a chance to watch a lot of movies.  On a 13-15 hour flight, I can fit in 2 full movies and still find time to read and sleep and eat.  What else is there to do?  The flying time plus the movies running in the room constantly (Dad turns them on all the time), and I saw a bunch of movies.  I won’t write much about most of them, and going forward, I won’t be posting about every movie I see, just those that strike my in some way, shape, or form.


hancock   leatherheads   ghost
catsanddogs   momma   coolhand


Brief summaries:

Hancock –  – not Will Smith’s best

Leatherheads – pretty good, I’ve always been impressed with Renee Zellweger… (Well, other than the 4 month marriage to Kenny Chesney!  But she was awesome in Cold Mountain.)

Cats and Dogs –  made me laugh.  a lot.  silly, but hilarious.

Momma Mia – much better than I thought.  Very good.

Capote –  I was so tired that I did not make it through, but I  will watch the rest of it, maybe tonight.   Philip  Seymour Hoffman was amazing in what I did stay awake for.

Cool Hand Luke – Ok, but by no means was I blown away with it.  Maybe my expectations were too high based on how much I have heard about it.

Ghosttown – odd in that it was very funny for about the 1st half of it, and then it got much more serious.  I  laughed hard during the funny part, and the serious part  was good too, in a different way.

I saw parts of other movies, but that is good enough for now…


UPDATE:  Wow, just finished Capote…  No wonder Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor.  Amazingly good movie, though not a “happy ending.”  Makes me want to read Capote’s books now.

Wall-E. 2008.

walle I am amazed at the number of excellent films Pixar has been able produce, including Wall-E.  In my opinion, they have not had one mediocre film in all of their productions.  They also are much better at NOT including all the adult humor and innuendo that other studios continue to place in kid’s movies.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. 2008

expelled I know there is a lot of controversy around this movie, and I certainly understand that especially if any of the information on how some of the interviews were obtained is accurate.  In my mind there should have been no need to get interviews in anyway other than aboveboard methods.  

However, beyond that, I think this film should be watched, and no matter which side of the “wall” (more on that below) you are on, you should try to leave your biases at the door.

I know this film is slanted heavily in favor of one side of the story, but that is ok, it is a documentary with a purpose.  In fact, the “propaganda” affected me to some extent.  I thought the Berlin Wall metaphor and associated naziism and communism was way over the top in the beginning, but by the end, I felt like “The Wall” metaphor was more appropriate.

Again, don’t let your preconceived notions and biases prevent you from seeing a film just because you may fall on the opposite side of the debate than what the film is arguing for or against).

Road to Perdition. 2002.

roadtoperdition I happened to see the 1st couple minutes of this flipping channels and decided to record it and watch it later.  I literally did not know anything about it going in, but with the cast including Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, I figured it had to be pretty good.

In case you didn’t know, the definition of “perdition” is:

1. Christianity final and unalterable spiritual ruin; damnation
2. same as hell [Late Latin perditio ruin]

It was one of those movies that is not super cheerful!  But the acting is good and the story keeps you engaged.  Lots of twists and turns though most of them were fairly predictable.

One quote:

Natural law. Sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers.

Let’s hope that is not the case with Reece-man!  🙂

Madagascar 2: Escape from Africa. 2008.

mada2 Saturday was cold and rainy and I could tell there wasn’t going to be much to do, so I looked at what was playing near by and saw Madagascar 2.  So I loaded up the kids and we headed over to the theater for an 11 a.m. showing.  My 1st comment is whatever happened to “matinees?”   It cost just under $20 for 2 kids and me  to get in!  I knew the popcorn and drinks would be high too.  :-/  Oh well.

Riley loved the movie, and Reece did pretty well himself, sitting still (mostly) for about 90 minutes.

I still don’t know why they have to put so much “adult” humor in kids movies these days, but overall it was good and there is nothing way out of line for 3 and 6 year olds.  And there are some good life lessons about friendship, loyalty, parenting, etc., that we were able to talk about a little afterward (at least with Riley).