I just got back from vacation. Despite my longing to go to Brazil for the World Cup, my husband and I stayed at home and did things around the DFW area. We also watched movies. Even though going to the movies is great, there is something about being at home with a big bowl of popcorn and a soda. Plus, you don’t have to step over anyone to go to the restroom. Here are my reviews of the movies we watched on vacation. They are all available at the library, of course.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Overall, I found the characters despicable and disgusting. They had no morals, no sense of decency, and some of them ended up in jail. That being said, I can tell why it was up for an Academy Award. The grandeur and the audacity shown on film was brilliant. DiCaprio really takes it to the next level. He’s manic one minute and sensible the next. He has a child-like joy about him when he is talking to his employees and he is ruthless when selling stocks. The only people I liked in this movie was Jordan Belfort’s ex-wife and Steve Madden, the shoe designer. I really do miss my chunky heels of the 90s. I wish those would come back in style. Anyway, Scorsese is always controversial and has an excellent way of making the audience hate his characters. Casino is an excellent example of this. I don’t think I would ever elect to watch this movie again, although I thought some of it was amusing, in it’s own way. If you want a great Scorsese movie, try The Color of Money with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise or Gangs of New York with Leonardo DiCaprio. Be forewarned, Gangs of New York is pretty violent and gory, but visually, it’s an amazing movie.
Starring: Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal
This is my go-to, feel-good movie. I have seen this film thousands of times. I can quote lines, tell you background history on the filming, and so much more. I still have my VHS copy, it’s that good. It’s a girl meets boy, girl hates boy, girl and boy become friends, boy ruins it, and they fall in love. The movie starts directly after college graduation when Harry and Sally share a car ride to New York. They don’t know each other and the have very different views on relationships. One of the most memorable lines is Harry stating that men and women can never be friends. That car ride sets the tone for the whole movie. It’s a really wonderful film about how men and women are different and how they can change and grow. Just for full disclosure, my husband didn’t watch this one with me. He elected to mow the lawn instead. It is a pretty girly movie, I suppose. In my defense, I am a girl.
Starring: Hugh Jackman
When we first started this movie, I thought it was the awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. It wasn’t, although they both start off in a POW camp, which I thought was weird. I’m not sure why Marvel keeps making movies about this one particular X-Men character. Yes, he’s cool, he’s a bad-boy, and Hugh Jackman is handsome, but there are other X-Men who deserve to have a movie about them and there are other plot lines to explore. It was interesting. There were lots of Japanese references, as some of the movie is in Japan. I liked it better than Origins, but it’s not a good as the other X-Men movies. Although, the movie X-Men: The Last Stand was not great either. If you really want to watch an X-Men movie and have seen the others, this one is okay. If you want a really interesting Hugh Jackman movie, try The Prestige. It’s a great movie that is completely underrated.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and John Hurt
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
I think I am the only person in the United States who enjoyed this movie. Everyone I know thought the alien aspect was hard to swallow and I somewhat agree. However, when you think about all the other stuff he found in the other movies, this one isn’t so bad. For example, in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he found 3 magic rocks from a magic stream that could made a village prosper. And someone had their heart ripped out with just a hand and didn’t die immediately. I don’t think that’s possible to do, but I let it go because it’s a movie. I thought it was a very interesting take on the theory that aliens helped build the Mayan pyramids. They even reference Egypt in the film to make the connection to both continents. I liked that the characters came full circle from the first film with Karen Allen. She was always my favorite and I’m glad to see what happened to her. I really enjoy all the Indiana Jones films and Steven Spielberg is an amazing storyteller. I also really enjoy any music John Williams composes.
Starring: Anna Maxwell Martin
This isn’t really a movie, it’s a British mini-series, but I watched it on vacation, so it still counts. It is about a group of women who worked at Bletchley during World War II cracking enemy codes and finding patterns in things the Germans were doing. After the war, they all went separate ways and couldn’t talk about the things they did during the war. One of them starts to notice a pattern in seemingly random murders. She enlists the help of her former co-workers to solve the mystery. These women are strong and smart and no one around them sees who they really are and what they can really do. If you like mysteries, this is a great one. I would also recommend Endeavor, which is the early years of Inspector Morse. It’s great stuff. I might also like PBS a little too much.
Starring: Chris Pine and Keira Knightley
This is a GREAT movie. I loved every minute of it! It was fast, smart, and exciting. Chris Pine is a great action star and really shows a wide range of emotions in this movie. It starts on 9/11 at Oxford University when Jack Ryan decides to join the Marines. He is in a helicopter crash and that’s how he meets his future girlfriend, Keira Knightley, as she is a physical therapist. The CIA recruits him to be a spy at a bank, looking at transactions for suspicious money that could lead to terrorism. He finds some and the race is on to stop the terrorists before they can get us! Chris Pine also stars in the new Star Trek movies, which are also great. Keira Knightley is in one of my favorite versions of Pride and Prejudice. The costumes in that version are my favorite.
Have thoughts on any of these movies? Leave it in the comments!
WyLaina Polk is the manager of the Emily Fowler Central Library and loves most movies.