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MOVIE REVIEW: “Joy” – Man, What A Disappointment

Joy stars Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, the real-life woman who invented the Miracle Mop and launched an empire in the process. It’s directed by David O. Russell, who won audiences over with the The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, then left us all feeling mildly dissatisfied with American Hustle. We got pretty excited about Russell releasing another Jennifer Lawrence-led project over the holidays, but get ready for another heaping dose of disappointment. Joy doesn’t live up to Russell’s previous Oscar nominees, and that means it’s not even as good as the not-very-good American Hustle.

The problem here is Joy’s family, who unintentionally thwart every chance she has of a normal life. She lives under the same roof as her singer-ex-husband (Tony Miranne), volatile father (Robert De Niro) and neurotic mother (Virginia Madsen), who is so quirky she might have just stepped out of a Wes Anderson flick. Throw a couple of kids in the mix and Joy is so overwhelmed she can barely breathe, much less thrive. Jennifer Lawrence is at her best when she’s slaying dragons but she’s so busy throwing punches here that her character never develops. By the time Joy finally finds some success, we’re all too exhausted to celebrate with her.

There are some moments in Joy that work, namely every shot at the QVC studios (I especially liked how Melissa Rivers played her mother, Joan) and a fun soap-opera story line that pops up occasionally. It’s not enough to save this movie from it’s own phrenetic energy, which is why I’m giving Joy a C. Man, we had such high hopes for this one. I’m honestly as bummed to write this review as you probably are to read it!

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Room” is Worth Every Agonizing Moment

I saw a movie years ago called Kiss the Girls, about a serial killer who kept women hidden in underground rooms. The notion terrified me. It was a fictional story based on a James Patterson book, but the idea of being trapped like that seemed too horrible to ever be true. Then I started hearing REAL stories of women who were held captive for extended periods of time with startling regularity. It made me wonder just how many women are being held against their will at any given time and if there was ever anything I could do to help them.

Author Emma Donoghue has had those same thoughts since hearing the story of Elisabeth Fritzl in Austria. She was locked away by her own father for 24 years, and even had 7 children by him while trapped behind that locked door. Elisabeth Fritzl is the woman who inspired Donoghue to write the best-selling book and screenplay for Room. Continue reading →

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MOVIE REVIEW: Why I Compare “Bridge of Spies” to a Chicken Dinner

James Donovan was the New York attorney who defended Soviet Spy, Rudolf Abel in 1957. He did so after multiple lawyers refused to and while under much public scrutiny. Donovan lost the case but argued against the death penalty for Abel and won. He was later asked to help American pilot, Francis Gary Powers, after he was shot down over Russia. Donovan successfully negotiated the exchange of Rudolf Abel, who was still imprisoned in the U.S., for Powers. Bridge of Spies is based on this historic event, with Steven Spielberg directing and Tom Hanks portraying James Donovan. Ethan and Joel Coen (who collaborated with Spielberg on True Grit) were also brought in to write with Matt Donovan.

This is why Bridge of Spies reminds me of a chicken dinner that you would order at a fancy restaurant. The waiter might tell you about a delicious plate of cage-free, butter-braised Heaven, but you really just end up with a plate of chicken. Sure it tastes good and might even be a little better than KFC, but it never quite lives up to its promise. Continue reading →

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MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “The Martian” OK For My Kids?

The Martian stars Matt Damon as an astronaut who, through a series of unfortunate events, is left stranded on Mars. He has a limited amount of resources so he must use his wits and vast knowledge of science to survive. It doesn’t really sound like the makings of a best-selling book, much less a blockbuster movie, but that’s exactly what The Martian has become. It will also most likely be a contender once Oscar season kicks in and is already on the everyone’s short-list of Must See Movies. Even I gave it an A+ and called it an “instant classic,” but here’s the next question: Is The Martian okay for my kids? It IS rated PG-13 after all, so what will my children be shown while watching it, other than a man’s incredible struggle to survive?

I actually had this conversation with my daughters (ages 8 & 11) today because they are both DYING to see The Martian. There are 2 things working against parents like me though, who want to share this movie with their kids: The length and the language. Continue reading →

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PODCAST: Boozy Movies Reviews “The Martian”

It’s been AGES since Boozy Movies got together for a movie and booze but we FINALLY did for The Martian. I have a few disclaimers though, before you listen to the podcast:
1) I say, about midway through the review, “That’s how smart guys are.” I meant to say “That’s how smart ASTRONAUTS are.” No, I don’t think that all men are smart enough to stay alive on Mars. Also,
2) Rebekah laughs about the movie He Named Me Malala at the end of the review but she DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. I told her after we stopped recording and she said, “Now I feel like a dick.” She isn’t. She’s actually really nice but I’m going to make her see He Named Me Malala with me anyway. Here’s our review and if you hear anything else in there that offends you, it was probably intended. ENJOY!