“Fifty Shades Freed” – Movie Review

IMG_3975Don’t mess with Mrs. Grey! Anastasia has two new titles – wife and editor – and has now become a force to be reckoned with.  No longer the timid Anastasia, she’s determined not to loose herself.  She will not allow Christian to dominate her outside of the “red room.”  In this story, Ana seems to be the one “calling the shots.” She’s constantly defying Christians instructions and it’s making him crazy. She’s also fearless and will do anything to protect her family.

“50 Shades Freed” is probably the best book and movie adaptation of the entire E.L. James franchise. It goes beyond being an X-rated love story and builds into a suspenseful drama.  If only all of the “Fifty Shades” books had this type of story line where the sex is secondary to the plot.

This movie opens with the wedding vows, followed by various scenes from the romantic and steamy honeymoon, making some girls wish they had a man with the finances of Christian Grey!  The honeymoon is cut short by the news of a break-in and fire at Christian’s business office.  Jack Hyde (Ana’s former boss) is determined to make her and Christian pay for their happiness and his self-serving misery.  If you haven’t read the books, I won’t spoil the plot for you, go see the movie. It is the last movie of the series, so it ends with a montage of scenes from all three movies.

I was invited to screen the movie by the Sly Fox Club at the Santikos Casa Blanca Theater.  The theater seats over 200 people and every seat was full; I was almost turned away.  I was lucky enough to get the last of the cool gifts (shown in the photo) that were given out to various audience members.  The mirror compact is really nice.  Unfortunately, mine fell on the floor and cracked.

“Fifty Shades Freed” opens Friday, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It goes without saying that it is for mature, adults only.  If you are in the San Antonio area, I recommend seeing it at Santikos Casa Blanca Theater; the seats are really comfortable. “Fifty Shades Freed” is a perfect date night flick. You may want to go to the earlier show and plan for some alone time afterwards 😉 (I’m just saying!)

Enjoy the show and come back and tell me what you think. – BMT


“Some Say Freedom is Free, but I Tend to Disagree. . .” “Thank You for Your Service” – Movie Review


“Thank You for Your Service” is a rated R movie adaptation of David Finkel’s best seller by the same name.  The movie is produced by Jon Kilik, best known for “The Hunger Games” movies.  Executive producers are Ann Ruark and Jane Evans. This is director and screenplay writer, Jason Hall’s first entry into the directorial arena and I don’t think it will go unnoticed by the Academy. (The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be on March 5, 2018.)  Hall also wrote the screenplay for “American Sniper.”  Last week on the “Harry” show. Harry Connick, Jr. asked why he wanted to make this movie.  Hall said that he wants people to understand the sacrifices our soldiers make.  He gets two thumbs up for that!

Based on true events , “Thank You for Your Service” is an eye-opening story about the unbelievable lack of a program for transitioning from soldier to civilian and the tragically deficient health care system in place for our combat veterans, especially when it comes to mental health.  The title can be construed as being sarcastic in that when veterans come home the military basically sends them home to navigate their way back into society with a “see ya later, thanks” attitude.

The movie follows the story of five soldiers that served an 11-month tour of duty  at Camp Rustamiyah in Iraq in 2007.

Staff Sgt. Adam Schumann

As the lead character, Miles Teller gives an astounding performance as Staff Sgt. Adam Schumann.  He comes home to his wife, Saskia, played by Haley Bennett, and their two children, one an infant son, from whom he is a bit detached, since he is meeting him for the first time – another subtle revelation of the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families.  Schumann returns not only with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD,) but feeling guilty for the death of his Sgt. First Class (SFC) and his friend’s handicapped state, even though he was given high honors for his actions during those same events.  Teller does a great job portraying the kind of friend you would want to have your back at home as well as on the battlefield.  There is no doubt this is the kind of man Schumann is.

Will Waller

Joe Cole plays Will, who the guys nicknamed “Chip,” probably because of the chip he appears to have on his shoulder. He is excited to get home to his fiance, but comes home to an empty house, the utilities cut off, no note, and his calls to her keep going straight to voicemail.  Despite the offer of support from his “brothers,” his depression gets the best of him adding to the guilty feelings of Schumann.

Specialist Sol Aieti

Beulah Koale gives an emotional performance as Specialist Sol Aieti, an American Samoan, who became an American citizen after enlisting.  He comes home to a pregnant fiance, Alea, played by Keisha Castle-Hughes.  He has brain damage caused by a head injury he got on the mission that lost SFC Doster.  He has PTSD and constant hallucinations of Doster (I’d call them “daymares” – if there was such a word.) He also displays the symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE,) but the army won’t help him because they don’t seem to have a record of his being on that mission! As if that should matter – they knew he was stationed there! Though he’s virtually “thrown to the dogs” (pun intended) by the army, he is a loyal soldier that keeps saying, “the army saved my life.”  He is completely lost now and just wants to return to the battlefield.  It seems the soldiers don’t know how to define themselves other than being soldiers. I guess it’s a phenomenon similar to “Stockholm Syndrome;” they want to go back to a routine where even though they were in constant danger, their purpose was well-defined.

SFC James Doster

Amy Schumer gives an uncharacteristically serious and convincing performance as the grieving widow of SFC James Doster, played by Brad Beyer.  As I mentioned, Adam, Sol, and Will are all struggling with PTSD and are particularly plagued by memories of the death of SFC Doster and the events leading up to it. When they de-board the plane, she immediately rushes to them to ask if they were with her husband when he died, but they avoid communicating with her because they are burdened by the guilt that he is gone and they survived. This is a problem that most of us civilians, including military spouses do not understand.  These vets have seen so much death and evil that we cannot imagine and they harbor survivor’s guilt.  It’s a heavy load that they keep bottled-up inside and it causes many to commit suicide or turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. 

Michael Emory

Scott Haze plays Michael Emory, a soldier that was shot in the head during an ambush. Emory is severely handicapped and Schumann blames himself for dropping him while going down a flight of stairs trying to get him medical assistance. Though he probably has his own nightmares, his role is that of the optimist who is just grateful to be alive.

The guys realize that it is important for them to talk about what they are feeling. They seek help from their local base, but  are put on year-long waiting lists, so they turn to the VA for assistance where they are shamed by their superiors who don’t want them to “send the wrong message” to the young people newly enlisting.  So they try to battle their mental demons on their own.

Saskia, through Bennett’s performance, paints the picture of the supportive yet unaware spouse. She continually tries to  get him to open-up, but he can’t talk about it. She accompanies him to an appointment at the VA. A few points that stuck in my mind were when the VA Rep. told her, “there is no cure for trauma.” It is sad that the VA realizes that hundreds of thousands of veterans come back suffering from mental trauma, yet there are not enough resources to take care of those that come asking for help and if they don’t come asking for help, no one is checking on them.  (When we hear that the government is making “military cuts,” realize this is one of the areas that is “cut.”) It is tragic that nothing will cure them, but if they can get immediate and proper treatment, they can learn to cope. Additionally, in this scene we learn that Schumann has been bestowed many honors. As they are leaving his wife asks why he didn’t tell her that she was married to a hero. He doesn’t see himself that way, he’s so depressed and down on himself. Coincidentally, as I was writing this, on the TV in the background, I heard Dr. Phil being interviewed. They were talking about the heroism displayed by so many in the recent Vegas tragedy. Dr. Phil said, “I don’t think crises make heroes.  I think crises reveal who you were before it happened.” Probably 99% of our soldiers do not see themselves as heroes; they feel that they are just doing their job and being who they expect themselves to be. I guess you could substitute “war” for “crises” in Dr. Phil’s sentence and draw the conclusion that combat soldiers are born heroes.

The last image of the movie is the same image shown in the beginning – a vast array of dog tags slowly twirling and glistening like golden pendants. I think this is director Hall’s artistic way of driving home an important point – our men and women in the armed forces are our nation’s most precious jewels and we should admire, honor, and value them as such.

I found this movie to be deeply emotional and was infuriated to learn that not enough help is provided to our post 9/11 soldiers when they get home. While they are active duty, they “belong” to the government, but once they become civilians they are basically on their own. Every adult American, especially the family and friends of combat soldiers should see this movie.  There are so many movies that show the losses and victories of combat, but very few movies show the silent battles veterans face when they return to “the land of the free.”  Many look at our armed forces as video game characters and make thoughtless comments or ask shallow questions.  A cab driver in this movie asked, “did you kick their *sses?” Meanwhile, the soldier is trying to take in the sights and scents of freedom; the clean, fresh air that we civilians take for granted.  When they come home all in one piece, we have no idea what they’ve seen and had to endure.

Several years ago (probably around 2007) I had a friend in his mid-20s who just got home from Iraq and was working part-time. He had trouble sleeping and often called me late at night. He told me that he slept with a machete under his bed.  It was hard for me to comprehend why, when he was now home and safe.  He really couldn’t explain it to me, except to say that he was “messed-up.” Mental wounds are just as bad, if not worse than physical ones, but if you are not a mental health expert, they are impossible for the average person to understand. Mental illness can make it difficult to focus and thus render a person unable to work or handle everyday activities. This often gets misconstrued by family and friends as laziness. I know this from my own personal experience, but that is another story for another time.

I mentioned at the beginning that the movie title can be taken as sneering, however it can also be taken literally as reminding us that the first thing we should say, when we see our men and women in uniform, is – “Thank you for your service,” but it should be followed-up with a thoughtful question. Ask how they are feeling, what was it like, if they need any assistance, do they have a place to stay, and what it feels like to be home. Maybe they don’t have a home to go to and maybe we can help. They’ve bravely served us, now that they are back from combat, we need to think about how we can be of service to them.

As the credits roll, the somber singing by Bruce Springsteen of the traditional army chant known as the “Freedom Cadence,” really gets to the point  of the movie – “Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree, I say freedom is won by the barrell of a gun.” I think we need to remember that and stand tall and be reverent the next time the “National Anthem” is played.

If you are or know a soldier who is suffering from PTSD, CTE, depression, anxiety, anger, and/or other post-deployment or combat related mental health issues, please seek help.  Contact one of the below listed facilities.  As I close, let me say that I, personally, thank you for your bravery and service. – BMT

The Pathway Home, Inc., 100 California Drive, Madison Building, 2nd Fl. Yountville, CA 94599 – Telephone Number: (707) 948-3031 or email info@thepathwayhome.org – (This was a facility featured in the movie.)

or Cumberland River Behavioral Health at 1-(800) 273-8255

or one of the providers listed in this link: https://www.thankyouforyourservicemovie.com/veterans#MentalHealth

Movie Review – “Kevin Hart: What Now” #HittingTheatersThisFriday

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia

Image from wikimedia.org

I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to have a stroke!  True story – “Kevin Hart: What Now” is hilarious.  I really did feel as if I was going to bust blood vessels from laughing!

I purposely left a set in between me and the first group of people in my row (I would have given the seat up if someone needed it, but it never came to that) because I was worried that the people sitting next to me were going to get mad at me. “Reason why is” I can’t watch Kevin Hart and not crack-up and when I crack-up, it’s LOUD! However, there were two seats on the other side of me.  Two nice young women asked if they were open, so of course I said, “yes.” I struck up a conversation with them about how much I loved Kevin Hart.  Luckily, one of them (the one sitting closest to me) saw him live and was a big fan.  As soon as the movie began, I was so happy she sat next to me because Kevin did what he does best – – make us laugh!

Kevin was firing off one funny “true story” after another; each one funnier than the last and the two of us were screaming with laughter from the very first joke!  It was as if she was my “sista from another mista” because she laughed just as loud as I did, she held her stomach and moaned from the laughter pains, just like me!  She even sat up trying to get air, just like me!  The movie was so funny that so many times I laughed so hard that no sound came out, because I was losing oxygen (she did the same thing!) We weren’t just laughing, we were losing our minds and it was the best feeling ever!!  I can truthfully say, I never laughed so hard and so much at a movie, in my life and having a “laughing partner” felt so liberating!  Of course, the rest of the theater was laughing too, so there was no way they could get mad at me.  Honestly, you’d have to have been in a coma not to laugh.

“What Now” is somewhat of a documentary movie.  It is Kevin’s stand-up comedy routine, which he performed in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 50,000 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2015. It was the first time in history that a comedian sold out a football stadium.  Kevin wants to make history again by breaking box-office records for this opening weekend by showing the film around the world.  If you follow @kevinhart4real, he’s asking everyone to help him make history this weekend. He’s using the hash tag – #ComedicRockStarShit for all posts related to “What Now.”

The movie can also fit into the action, drama, and comedy, movie genres.  It opens with a James Bond-like title sequence.  At first, you will think it’s an action comedy.  For the first ten minutes or so, it’s a comedic parody of a Bond movie, featuring Halle Berry as herself but as Kevin’s “Bond-girl.”  Kevin is agent 0054! This movie within the movie satirizes all of the cliché things that happen in spy movies.  For example, there’s a room labeled, something like “convenient changing room with clothes that fit Kevin Hart!”  There is even a bloody shootout scene, which is rather gross and actually made me and my “sista” cover our eyes.  Therefore, besides for the language, the bloody scene also makes this an adult only movie.

When the “mission” is accomplished, Halle and Kevin make it to the venue, where Kevin shoots up an elevator shaft onto the stage, and the concert begins.  It was so awesome  to see the aerial shots of the sold-out stadium!  Kevin teared-up when he took his final bows.  You can tell how grateful he is to have been able to go back to his hometown and sell out the stadium. It was as if that moment was when he realized he made it as a star!  It’s inspiring to see someone who has worked hard, realize his dream.  I also have a lot of respect for big stars who are not afraid to be humble.  My favorite part, which made me love Kevin even more, was just before he left the stage and thanked the crowd.  He told the audience to “look around,”  he said, “I see every race, ethnicity, and nationality possible.  I see some of everybody. We all came under the same roof and we laughed tonight.  If you can laugh together, you can live together; if you can live together, you can love together.  I live by those rules and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see that s**t here tonight. . . in my city I made history. . .and this has been the best night of my f**’n life. ..” You can actually find video of this moment posted by a fan on YouTube.  I didn’t post the link here because I try to keep my content PG-13.

When the Universal Pictures studio representative asked what I thought of the movie, I told him that I thought I was going to have a stroke and that I was so lucky the girl next to me laughed as loud as I did.  He replied, “everyone was laughing.”  They were; the room was roaring with laughter for the entire run of the film!  The stand-up routine is full of so many funny and animated stories about Kevin’s kids, his “lady,” his dad, and his friends, all prefaced with “true story.”  Kevin says he doesn’t lie, “unless the truth is not believable!” I don’t want to give away and jokes or punch lines, you have to see this movie for yourself.  Please remember it’s rated –R; it’s not for kids and if you get offended by foul language, then it’s not for you.  If you are a Kevin Hart fan, the answer to the question, “What Now?” is go buy your tickets!  “Kevin Hart: What Now” opens Friday! Don’t miss it! – BMT

P.S.  Don’t get up when the credits start rolling, there’s more movie! As always, please let me know what you think. – Beth

“The Girl on the Train” – Movie Review

the_girl_on_the_train_logoIntense! There is really no other word to perfectly describe “The Girl on the Train!” Walking out of the theater I heard a few other comments, such as, “you women are crazy” and “that was crazy,” but my immediate reaction when the studio representative asked, “what did you think?” was – “intense.”

“The Girl on the Train,” directed by Tate Taylor is the theatrical adaptation of the book by the same name written by Paula Hawkins. It is a psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns. I’m not big on “thriller” movies but I am always intrigued by psychological thrillers that have a good story line. This is one of those movies that captivates you from the first scene.

Someone said the movie was a “train wreck” and it was the worst movie they’d seen in a long time. I disagree; although I do like the use of the expression “train wreck” because in my opinion, the movie is about relationship train wrecks. The movie focuses on one main character Rachel Watson, who is the center of this relationship “Ven diagram.” As expected, Emily Blunt’s performance as Rachel is superb. As the story unfolds you see that every character is related by “six degrees of separation” to Rachel.  I recently read a review and the author said that it was difficult to follow along. I wouldn’t say it was difficult; you just have to pay attention. Isn’t that why we go to movies? – to engross ourselves into the story-line?  I thought the suspenseful plot twists made the movie interesting.

It is difficult to review movies without spoiling it for future viewers, and I can’t stand reviews that actually tell the entire story. So, I won’t do that to you.  I’ll just touch on what you already may have gleaned from the trailer. Rachel is an artist with a vivid imagination, which is fueled by alcohol. She rides the train into the city every day and fantasizes about Megan and Scott Hipwell, a couple that lives in a house she passes daily.  Luke Evans, plays Scott; he’s ruggedly sexy (on and off-screen).  We feel sorry for him and fear him at the same time. Luke was on Harry Connick, Jr.’s talk show – #Harry – this week. I didn’t know that he is also a singer! I mean he’s already a hot actor, but once you hear him sing, you’ll be, as Harry put it, “smitten.” Watch the clip here:

Haley Bennett plays Scott’s wife, Megan, another complex character. Edgar Ramirez, plays her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic. Rebecca Ferguson is Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom’s (Justin Theroux) new wife. Rachel’s daily train ride represents her inability to move forward; she sits rear-facing – looking back. Rachel appears to be a typical “crazy-ex” who is fixated on the past and stalks her ex-husband.

Laura Prepon of “That 70s Show” fame, plays Rachel’s friend, Cathy, who took Rachel in when she had nowhere else to go. Allison Janney is the detective investigating the murder case. She is perfectly cast as she seems to always play the role of an arrogant woman of power, who always gets to the bottom of things and doesn’t care who she takes down in the process. Lisa Kudrow plays Martha, Scott’s ex-boss’s wife.  Though she is not a main character, her role in the movie is crucial to the plot line. Rachel runs into her on the train and suddenly learns unnerving information about her ex-husband.

It is all seems so far-fetched, yet, so real due to the awesome cinematography by Charlotte Bruss Christensen and the artistry of director, Tate Taylor. The story is basically told through the use of flashbacks. We feel Rachel’s confusion and fragile mental state through her eyes and the reflections in the train windows. In one scene her reflection is superimposed with the reflections of the trees as the train passes them. You feel the speed of the train and Rachel’s internal conflict. As in Alfred Hitchock’s classic movie, “Strangers on a Train,” the train ride is used as a means to create suspense and the place where the main character impulsively makes her next move.  Though “Strangers on a Train” is about a criss-cross murder plot; “The Girl on the Train” involves an unplanned murder alliance. That’s all I’m going to say.

I highly recommend you see this movie. Did you see it this weekend?  What did you think?  I’d like to know, so please post your comments below. – BMT

Movie Review – “Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping”

Popstar photo

Photo of movie screen by RCT with Snapchat filter

While what looks like may have been the majority of screening viewers were undoubtedly crying their eyes out watching “Me Before You” tonight, we were screaming and crying with laughter.  We chose to see “Popstar – Never Stop Never Stopping” tonight at the Santikos Palladium Theater, along with about 75 other viewers.

In the words of my daughter/assistant/photographer, RCT, “Popstar” is, “Everything I love about the Lonely Island, wrapped up into one movie!”

The movie, written by and starring Andy Samberg, is a parody of a documentary about the struggles and triumphs faced by today’s pop stars.  The movie stars several “Saturday Night Live” Alumni – Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Bill Hader, and Jimmy Fallon – along with Joan Cusack, Justin Timberlake, and the other two thirds of the Lonely Island – Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer.  All of whom give their typically funny performances.  However, what really adds to the fun and gives the movie it’s “documentary feel” are the cameos by famous artists, such as – Ringo Starr, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Usher, Sir Paul McCartney, Adam Levine, Pink, Simon Cowell, Mario Lopez, Snoop Dogg, and many many more!  There are so many, I apologize to those I missed.

Through the sarcasm and humor, Popstar teaches some valuable life lessons about friendship.  I don’t remember the exact quote, but the message Samberg clearly wanted to relay is that fame (life) is full of ups and downs and through it all you need to remain true to yourself always and “don’t be an A**H***!” 

Popstar is a perfect summer movie!  We hope you enjoy the show. Please come back and post your comments. – BMT

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is Hilarious!

12115716_1715720198671841_6890593920353150398_nBravo!  “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is hilarious!  Nia Vardalos is a comedy genius! Often a sequel, especially one that pops up 14 years later, is not as good as the first movie and leaves the audience disappointed.  This is not the case here!  It doesn’t hurt that the original cast with their same comedic chemistry returns. You will laugh, tear up at the heartfelt moments and even cry with laughter! My daughter and I were laughing so hard we were screaming!!  We took my mom with us and she loved it too!  My Mom is Italian, the Xeni (foreigner) married to my father, the native Greek, also named, Gus! My daughter and I determined that she is a cross between Thea Voula and Yia Yia Maria – so you see, this movie isn’t just for Greeks, most families of European culture can relate to the  Portokalos family; that’s what makes this franchise classic!

Watch the official trailer here:

At the conclusion of the original movie, we learned that Ian (John Corbett) and Toula (Nia Vardalos) have a daughter and they couldn’t help but carry on the expectation that she attend Greek School.  Now, we meet Paris, (the Miller’s 17-year old daughter, who finds herself smothered by the entire Portokalos extended family.)  As is often the case, we find ourselves doing all the things that our parents did to us and Toula is no exception!  Though she and Ian do realize that they need to let Paris (Elena Kampouris) make her own choice as to where she will go to college, they make it pretty clear their preference is for her to remain in Chicago.

Her Grandfather, Gus (Michael Constantine), in his true Greek Papou brutally honest nature, tells her that she should not waste her eggs and needs to find a Greek boy to marry, while Yia Yia Maria (Lainie Kazan) reminds her to keep her “poulaki” covered (Greek word for little bird and cutesie slang word for female privates!) Toula understands how it feels to be smothered and realizes that she needs to take a step back and let her little bird fly from the nest. Being a Greek mother of my own 17-year old daughter, one of my favorite quotes from Toula was, “even though I’m taking a step back, I will always be right here.”

As is typical for all Greek families, everyone has their nose in each other’s business and everyone pulls together through good times and bad.  Thea Voula (Andrea Martin) is back with her meddling personality and her candid/personal stories which always contain TMI! Ian’s parents are back too and in true Greek fashion have become part of the extended Portokalos family.  The entire family has their hand in planning yet another “Big Fat Greek” wedding and it’s fantastic! Rita Wilson shows off her beautiful voice by singing a classic Greek Song at the wedding.

This movie celebrates Greeks, family, and a young girl’s struggle for independence from her Greek family!  Ironically, it’s no coincidence that it opens on March 25 – the day all Christians celebrate the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel of the Incarnation of Jesus to the Virgin Mary.  March 25 is also Greek Independence Day; the day Greeks celebrate Independence from the Turks!

The root of the word “ironically” comes from the Ancient Greek word, εἰρωνεία (eirōneía), which means “dissimulation, feigned ignorance.” So, there you go, Nia Vardalos was not ignorant in her decision to open a Big Fat Greek movie on a Big Fat Greek holiday!!

We screened the movie at the Palladium, which was also screening Batman vs. Superman.  Even though the Marvel movies are extremely popular, fans came out in droves to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.  While the line for the Batman/Superman movie slowly grew, the theater line was over capacity for this movie. Our friends, who arrived a few minutes after us, were turned away.  For a while it looked like we weren’t going to make it into the screening either.  Even though I’ve been screening and reviewing movies for a long time, my passes are “first come first served.”  (@UniversalPictures can you hear me? press passes, PLEASE! ) We had to sit in the second row, which took some adjusting for this far-sighted girl and made for a much bigger and fatter Greek experience!!!

The word “hilarious” comes from the Greek: ἱλαρός (pronounced hilaros,) meaning joyous, cheerful. So, there you go. You will find yourself in a state of hilarity while watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” You will leave believing you are Greek. After all we are all descendants of Alexander the Great, aren’t we?!  When the movie was over, I heard many people saying, “I wish I was Greek.” So, here’s my unsolicited  but freely given advice to you – you MUST see this movie! My advise to Nia Vardalos – don’t let your ink dry – you know we Greeks do everything in three’s, so start writing “3” ASAP, we don’t want to wait another 14 years for a Big Fat New York wedding!!! OPA!

After you see the movie, please share your comments.


San Antonio Movie Screening Passes Available

I have 1 admit 2 passes to the following movie screenings tonight:

“Steve Jobs” at Santikos Palladium – 7:00 p.m.


“The Last Witch Hunter” – Santikos Embassy – 7:00 pm.

Screenings are first come first served, seats are not guaranteed, so you will need to get there at least 1 hour before to ensure a seat.

Comment below if you are interested. Feel free to share post.

Review “Everest” Movie

I’m not a big fan of watching movies in 3D, the glasses are always uncomfortable to wear, the screen is completely blurry when I take them off for a few seconds to ease the discomfort, and frankly, I don’t see the need to feel as though the characters are pointing in my face or splashing water at me.  Nevertheless, I have to say, you must see Everest in IMAX 3D!

Sitting in the ice-cold Santikos Palladium IMAX Theater, I watched the story of two expedition groups that left the final camp at 2 a.m. on May 10, 1996 to summit Mount Everest and the tragedy that occurred through a series of human and natural disasters.  If I had to find something wrong with the movie, it was that keeping track of the characters was difficult since, for the majority of the film, they were bundled-up in climbing gear and thus looked alike. Therefore, the three characters I focused on were the two guides, Scott Fischer (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), Rob Hall, (played by Jason Clarke), and Dr. Beck Weathers, (played by Josh Brolin).  All of the actors gave great performances.

Apparently there is only a short window of time within anyone should even attempt climbing the mountain, so several expeditions were gathered to make this climb.  On the night before they leave the base camp, the characters discuss their motives for making this seemingly insane journey.  They are asked why they want to climb Everest and the common answers were, “because I can” and “because it is there.”  Each one had a personal reason too. One wanted to be an inspiration to a group of students that made a flag for him to place at the top.  He said that he wanted kids to see that if a common person such as himself could realize this goal, then they can do anything they put their minds to. Beck said that when he climbs he feels free of the depression that is like a black cloud looming over him back home.   Though their goal is the same, each climber’s story is unique and touching, which makes the outcome of the story even more tragic. They discuss the competition among the hikers and one of the guys says that it may be competition between people, but “the last word belongs to the mountain.”  That night, Hall and Fischer decided to merge their groups together to make the final ascent because they believe that their groups are the best and better equipped to get to the top.

I found myself saying, “are they crazy?” aloud a few times and I don’t think my neighbors were upset with me because, more than likely, they were thinking the same thing!  It is hard to believe that the climbers get across the Khumbu Ice Fall by climbing a very flimsy looking, man-made bridge, which they refer to as a “Hillary step”.  The Hillary step consists of several aluminum painters’ ladders tied together!  This seemed oddly primitive for the 20th century! As Beck (Brolin’s character) walks across the ladders, he mistakenly looks down and the viewer sees what he sees and gets the same feeling in the pit of their stomach, as he must have had.  It’s a black hole! I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it now, as I write! I felt terror as he slipped off. Imparting these feelings on the audience can only be accomplished by crafty cinematography by director Baltasar Kormákur, which made full use of three-dimensional effects, a brilliant screenplay by writers William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, and the extremely cold room temperature of the IMAX Theater.  These elements effectively made the viewer feel as if they were slipping, the avalanche was coming at them, and the snow was falling right in front of them.  Click here to get a taste of this experience. http://www.everestmovie.com/experience/khumbuicefall

I do not have an urge to climb Everest, or any other mountain for that matter, and seeing this movie ensures that I will not change my mind, even if I become physically fit to do so!  However, I do have an open mind, so I can imagine the rush and the feeling of accomplishment that one must derive when they achieve the conquest of a summit.  “Everest” has the audience on the edge of their seats.  It is as gripping and suspenseful as a horror film, only instead of there being a murderer, such as Freddy Krueger, the mountain is the antagonist.  My heart was pounding from the anxiety and it took a long time after the movie for the adrenaline to wear off!  Although the outcome of the story is no secret, I don’t want to spoil the suspenseful moments in the movie, so I will conclude with some advice.  If you plan to go to the movies this weekend, get your tickets for “Everest” now.  If you weren’t planning on going to the movies, put it on your agenda!  – BMT

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