The Dark Tower: A Review

I haven’t read this book series by Stephen King, and truthfully, when I walked into the theater, I had forgotten the series was by Stephen King.  I probably would have skipped it if I had known (I won’t even watch the IT trailer.  That thing scarred my childhood).  But I’m glad I didn’t.

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We went to the first showing at our favorite theater.  They were serving brunch and it was delicious.  It was also cheaper, as most first showings of the day usually are.  And it wasn’t that crowded either.

But the movie, itself, was phenomenal.  Talking to Michael afterward, we both agreed that if the Marvel and DC blockbusters didn’t play this summer, this would have easily been our favorite of the season.

The story follows this boy who is being haunted by these dreams of a dark tower, and a series of scenes that involve a man in black and a gunslinger.  Everyone thinks that they are just a reaction to trauma and loss in his own life.  But when the dreams become a reality, he goes on an adventure to another world in order to save his own.

It is not a scary movie, despite being based on a series of a very popular horror/thriller author.  To me, it was a straightforward, good vs bad adventure.  The plot was simple.  There were some graphic-ish scenes of violence, but not gory at all.  I’m thinking of one character who dies and you can see the hole on the forehead.  But no blood or guts.  The bad guy mostly killed by telling the person to stop breathing or by setting them on fire.  But you don’t see them on fire.

Idris Alba and Matthew McConaughey were amazing.  McConaughey wasn’t playing the kind of role I’m used to seeing from him, but he did really well.  It made me want to know more about the man in black, where he came from and why he was so bent on destroying the tower.  But perhaps that’s the point.  To get people to read the book series.

This was our last movie of the summer season, and I feel like we ended on a high note. On our way home in the car, we listed our favorites. It came in after Spider-man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman as a strong number three.  Definitely, a recommendation in the theaters or for a night at home.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: A Review

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Michael and I went to the Moviehouse & Eatery on Saturday, this time to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.  I don’t have a real comprehensive review like I usually do, but instead, just a few thoughts to share.

  1. It’s definitely a movie to see on a large screen, maybe even 3-D.  It is visually stunning, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a couple of award nominations for the CGI or the costumes.
  2. The plot, to me, was like being on a rollercoaster.  There was a slow build up at the beginning, then they hit you with a lot of information all at once (kind of like they are trying to catch you up to everything so you can understand the story), and then it was one action scene after another until you come to a complete halt at the end.
  3. I liked the idea that love was defined not by chivalrous acts or protection, but by trusting the other person enough to make their decisions on their own.
  4. I was a little disappointed by the ending (no spoilers, don’t worry).  I respected one of the character’s values all throughout the movie.  It was the loyalty to those values that helped the other character to grow.  Then the character just throws those values away in the end.  Not a fan.
  5. I loved the Pearls.  They definitely made this movie what it is.  Loved what they portrayed about beauty, love, and forgiveness.
  6. Rhianna’s character was interesting.  I liked the idea of her character, but I wish I could have seen a little more depth to her story.

Would I recommend this movie?  If you are a 3-D kind of movie watcher, then definitely see it in the theaters.  Otherwise, I think a home rental is sufficient enough to enjoy the film.  I wished that the movie would have been a little meatier with the plot, but the visuals are spectacular.

What I Watched Wednesday: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

First of all, Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a great start to the year!

This past weekend, Michael and I celebrated our anniversary.  One of the things we did was see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Taken from IMDB.com

Taken from IMDB.com

The movie follows a man named Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller).  He lives a pretty normal, almost dull, life working for Life Magazine in the negative assets department.  It’s so dull that Walter frequently zones out from the real world to his imagination, one where he goes on adventures, gets the girl or creates great art; however, this is no time to live in a fantasy world.  The magazine is transitioning to an online magazine, and everyone’s job is in jeopardy.  As the last print issue is being pulled together, the powers that be want the final cover to be a picture taken by photographer named Sean O’Connell who promises that this picture is the best he has ever taken, a true transcendence.  Alas, the picture is missing, and it’s up to Walter Mitty to recover the picture.

The movie is absolutely gorgeous.  They shot it on location in Iceland, the most beautiful sceneries I have seen in a while.  There is this one scene where Walter is long boarding on this winding road surrounded by mountains.  It was simply beautiful.  I could just get lost in some of those sweeping shots.

You do have to suspend belief most of the time.  It’s pretty hard to believe a guy who has been working behind a desk can easily navigate the Himalayan mountains.  I don’t think they were going for accuracy, though.  I think the moral of the story is to live and experience the present instead of hoping for a different reality, or you will miss out on some pretty amazing things.  Stiller’s acting was great.  Wiig was kind of flat, although I think the love story aspect was merely a support for the larger journey for Walter.  This isn’t a romance story.  It’s meant, I think, to be a personal growth journey.  I hesitate to use the word epic because I don’t think it quite reaches that height, but it’s similar.

The soundtrack is also pretty awesome, very chill songs, some remixes from the late 60s to early 80s.  Good driving music.

I’m torn between whether I would recommend this for the theater or Netflix.  As far as cinematography, it’s a definite theater must see.  However, the plot could easily be a Netflix night at home.  So, what movies have you seen lately?  Would you recommend them?