Bryce Dallas Howard

Jurassic World

Year: 2015
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Conolly

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I first watched this movie I felt for the first time that this franchise had finally produced a sequel that felt right. The Lost World was great and Jurassic Park III was good though underwhelming but neither had same kind of feel to it that the first one had. There is clearly the possibility that the feeling is the result of the fact that this is more or less the same movie as the first one, or the third one. How many kids can get lost on a dinosaur island anyway? Nevertheless I found this to be a good sequel and a great effort to advance the franchise.

I loved the scene in which the water dinosaur, whateverosaurus, eats the great white shark. I saw that as symbolism and a bold statement from the movie. It literally ate Jaws and made claim to the summer blockbuster of 2015. This movie of course was the biggest movie of the 2015 summer, and it actually went on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

This day in age, you simply can’t go wrong casting Chris Pratt. The guy is just so unbelievably likable. So much so that he was rumored to be the guy taking on the Indiana Jones helm. That’s not going to happen now as Harrison Ford is prepping for another go as the character himself. Still, the name dropping shows how well received Pratt currently is as an actor. He’s perfect for this movie as the cool dinosaur guy because he is the ultimate cool guy in Hollywood right now.

I really think the rest of the cast is well put together too. I am a big fan of Ron Howard‘s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, I like Vincent D’Onofrio a lot since seeing his incredible rendition of the Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil, and I think Irrfan Khan is terrific as the park owner. The cast in this movie is great and I like it but I think Jeff Goldblum proved with The Lost World that nobody watches these movies for the stars. Nope, the real stars in this these movies are the dinosaurs.

This films version of the T-Rex/Spinosaurus/whatever is bigger and badder is the genetically modified Indominous Rex. It’s a snazzy and scary dinosaur and all but where can they really go from here? I think they need to get more inventive with their storytelling and get away from the same old same old. In the end the dinosaurs even come together to destroy this abomination to their own existence but isn’t that what always happens? Also with every movie comes some new and terrifying thing to be done with Raptors. I thought it was cool when they were just scary dinosaurs. Why do they need to be able to communicate, and then be the tamed dinosaurs to be used as weapons? It’s just not practical, we don’t deploy any vicious creature today, why would we do so with dinosaurs? Lions can be trained to do all sorts of crazy stuff but we aren’t sending them after the terrorist are we? Although now that I think about it that seems so awesome.

This is a cool movie but I don’t want to call it great. I liked it enough when I first watched it to immediately punch the Amazon button to add it to the collection. I did that more for my love of the franchise than for love of the movie though. At the end of the day I’m still that little kid who watched the premier of the original at the Uptown theater in D.C. Yet there is a reason this movie made so much money, it is exciting. If you haven’t seen it then you wouldn’t be wasting your time by checking it out.

 

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Lady in the Water

Year: 2006
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan

RYAN’S REVIEW

Of all M. Night Shyamalan’s movies this one seems to be the most hated and that is totally understandable.  I think Shyamalan gets a bad rap because everybody goes in expecting something different and that isn’t his fault at all.  It’s the studios fault for how they market his movies, and a lot of it has to do with The Sixth Sense because everybody is looking for that same kind of shocker at the end.  This is the wrong way to enter his movies though.  His films are about human nature more than anything else, set on a strange platform that gives people the wrong impression.  This movie is about a fairy tale come to life, but it isn’t really about that fairy tale at all.  This movie is about loss and purpose.  It’s about a man lost in the world with nothing left but the next day and the jobs to keep him busy.  He is a man in secret pain and going forward only because he doesn’t know what else to do. The lady in the water is simply someone who makes him realize he still matters and gives him a place in the world again.

When I saw this movie for the first time I was in a difficult place in life.  I felt lost and without purpose myself and when I saw this movie it brought me to tears and understanding.  In the strangest way it gave me hope and the strength to keep going.  In some certain ways I am still here today because this movie gave me a reason to think that there was still purpose in life.  I don’t mean that anything about the Narf story or any of the fairy tale stuff in the movie moved me but this show of raw emotion did.  I felt this characters pain and related to it, seeing him find his own purpose in life was so motivating for me and did something to me that I can’t quite put into words.

This movie was nominated for multiple Razzie awards and actually won two.  Razzie Awards of course being the awards given to the worst movies of the year and again, I think it is understandable why it was nominated and even won.  Looking at this movie on the surface it does come across as really stupid.  You have to look past the surface in Shyamalan movies though, and nobody ever wants to do that.  Nobody wants to see the meaning within his movies they only want to “see dead people.” Shyamalan instantly became on of the biggest names in the business after he burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense.  It was a great starting point for his career but it really just set the bar too high for his viewers.  There is an audience out there for this guys movies, I naturally include myself in it, but they aren’t the ones who he needs to impress to continue being successful.  The mass movie audience wants another shocker like the one they saw at the end of his first movie.  Those shockers haven’t been there because his movies aren’t there to shock, they are there to showcase the qualities that make us human.  Love and bravery(The Village), faith and forgiveness (Signs), good vs. evil (Unbreakable), or as we see in this movie loss and purpose in life.  If you would like to read our review of The Happening just click hereThe Happening seemed to be nearly as hated as this movie but not quite.  It was enough to make the studio crack down on Shyamalan though as his next film, Devil, was made by a different director.  I did not see The Last Airbender but refuse to take anybody else’s word for it.  I do not know any other Shyamalan fans and I cannot trust their opinions without seeing for myself.  This summer he has a new movie coming out that I am really looking forward to.  After Earth features Will Smith and his son Jaden as a father son duo trying to survive on our planet that is now uninhabited by human and very dangerous. Seems like a much bigger budget movie than he usually does and I am excited by those possibilities.  No doubt most of the people that watch it will probably hate it but I insist you will have to look deeper to get the real meaning of the film. M. Night Shyamalan, if you are out there, don’t listen to the haters man.  I get what you do and appreciate all the films you make. The Village is one of my favorites and I really feel like this movie had a significant impact on my life.

I think Paul Giamatti is an incredible actor who can display a wide range of emotions. His performance in this movie was one I have always related to.  He is a character in secret pain and no longer knows what his purpose in life is.  He does a great job at a job with no real significance.  It might be significant to the people he helps but as he says in the film anybody can do the job he is doing.  He may be exceptional at it but there is nothing exceptional about the job or the place he has found himself in life.  He needs something he just doesn’t know what.  He needs a purpose, he needs to do something to prove to himself that he still matters.  It’s why he is so invested in this silly story as it unfolds, it has given him purpose and made him special. Something about seeing this man find his purpose and let go of the pain that has plagued him did something to me the first time I saw it, and it has always given this hated movie so much significance to me personally.

I am a big fan of Bryce Dallas Howard and think she is a terrific actress. I don’t think this was her best role but I think she did really well with it.  There is this quality about her performance as Story that reminds me so much of Edward Scissorhands.  I think that is appropriate as there are certain similarities to the two characters.  They are both beings in the human world for the first time and experiencing for the first time all the little things we take for granted.  She has such an emotionless expression all throughout the film too that only adds to that quality.

Shyamalan inserts himself into all his films but in this film we see him take on the largest role to date.  I didn’t think it was that bad but as people love to hate this guy it only gave them an open ended opportunity to put him down.  He won the Razzie Award for worst supporting actor and I really don’t think it was appropriate.  Yeah I can see that he isn’t a professional actor in his performance but I didn’t think he was bad enough to warrant such an award.  I think the role he plays in the story is an interesting one.  He doesn’t write a book that will influence the world simply one that will influence one specific person who will grow to change the world.  I like that idea and admittedly the idea alone made me like his character more.

I consider all criticism of this film to be truthful and honest but I just happen to see it differently.  I have explained why and also understand I am in the minority when it comes to Shyamalan films.  I think this movie was worth my time but don’t really know that I can honestly say it is worth yours. I have never met another person who enjoyed this movie and I would never recommend it to anyone simply because I don’t expect them to like it as I did.  If anybody out there had a reaction to this film similar to mine I would be really interested to hear your opinion on it.  I loved the movie, and it would be nice to know I am not the only one that did.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I wonder if anyone will even read this considering we are the only ones left on I the planet that actually like Shyamalan. I don’t know what’s right about us (see what I did there?) but we think he is really intelligent in the stories that he tells. I feel like there are very little original stories out there anymore. I feel like he does that. I think that most of his movies have been incredibly original and I appreciate that. This one is very original. It’s about a Lady who lives in the water and she is trying to get back to her world. I think it is interesting and a break from reality.

ladyinthewater

This poster is beautiful. There are so many things going on in the background. In the textures you can see shapes and forms of other things from the story. I love the hidden imagery. On top of that and more importantly to me, the typography is truly terrific. The font choice has serifs that almost flow like water. The W fits in very snugly against the L and “in the” is lightly added. I really love the coloring as well. It makes it all the more fairy-tale like and intriguing.

NEXT MOVIE: The Ladykillers (2004)

The Help

Year: 2011
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Tate Taylor (screenplay) and Kathryn Stockett

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a great movie and I can see that, but this movie makes me sad more than anything else. The world is full of hypocrites; of hateful, judgmental, and ignorant people who live to hurt others. Movies like this are good at reminding us that they are out there.  We don’t need a movie to do that though.  These people didn’t just live in the 60s; they have lived and thrived among us for the 50+ years since. Every single day there are people all over the place reminding us how awful people can be; it’s an unfortunate reality of life. This movie is sad, it’s about the hate that has existed among us and about how mean people can be. I am not a fan of this movie because I am not a fan of the mood it has put me in. I respect the story that it is telling and hope that it reaches the closed minded people of the world.  I was reached by another movie with a similar theme though, and everything else after I have just found depressing instead of moving.

This movie might not move me but it has the potential to move so many people and that makes it important. I sincerely hope that each and every other person that watches this movie learns a serious and important lesson. There is nothing good about hate, about judging another person based on the race, gender, or sexual preference. I do my best in life to never be that way and I personally hate reminders about how others choose to be.  This movie is really sad, and I never enjoy watching it.  Amber read the book, and although I respect everything my wife loves I do not enjoy this movie as she does. I don’t know all the back story that she does though and would probably feel differently if I had read the book.

Another reason I do not like this movie is because I love Bryce Dallas Howard and in this one she plays one of the most awful women I have ever seen in a movie.  These women are out there, we all know one or two.  I just hate seeing an actress I am so fond of play such a despicable character. Bryce Dallas Howard of course is the daughter of the great filmmaker and once actor Ron Howard.  I like her not only because of that but because of some of her performances in other movies.  I thought she was incredible in The Village and Lady in the Water although I might be one of the few that actually loved both of those movies.  Hilly Holbrook is a woman full of hate and arrogance.  There is absolutely nothing to like about her and that is not Bryce Dallas Howard’s fault, I just wish someone else had played the part.  I would feel much better hating a character that is supposed to be hated if she was played by someone I didn’t like.

Emma Stone is great in this movie.  I was not her biggest fan a few years ago when she burst onto the scene but I have come around. She is a great actress that shows very good versatility and her career seems to get more distinguished every year. One ironic tidbit in relation to her and this movie is that both she and Bryce Dallas Howard have now played the same character, Gwen Stacy, in different Spiderman movies. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are both fantastic in this movie as well but I fear they won’t have many other opportunities to shine like they did in this one.  I hope that I am wrong about this because I thought they were both great and would love to see them again.  Octavia Spencer did win the Academy Award for her part so that should open up many opportunities for her.  I just don’t see her fitting into many other roles as well as she fit into this one.

I see this as a movie about women made for women.  There are very few men in the movie at all and none with an extensive part.  I may see this as a movie for women but I still think it is a movie EVERYONE should see because we all need to learn the lessons that are offered from a film like this.  We all need to see how destructive and uncalled for hate and racism are.  Our country has come a long way since the sixties but it hasn’t come far enough if you ask me.  Racism is still rampant in this country and more often than not leaders on all sides make things worse as opposed to better. This country will never be able to be great again until we learn to be better as people.  We have to be able to work together, we have to be able to treat each other like human beings, and we need to quit with all the hate.  I don’t think this will ever happen, but the world would be a better place.  People of different races and sexual preferences are no less human than the person judging them but some people are too close minded to see the reality of that.  These types of people will always be around, and they will always find someone to put into power that will validate their beliefs.

I don’t like this movie or movies like it because they hurt me.  I feel an uncomfortable feeling in my gut every time I watch a movie like this because racism bothers me so badly.  That isn’t a feeling I like to endure and no matter how good a movie might be I find it hard to like when it makes me recognize the ugly realities of human nature.  This movie is worth your time though, despite the bad feelings while watching it now I have still found myself sucked into the story.  It is a good story, and one everybody out there can learn from.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really like this movie. It is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations. I think that all of the actors in the movie were perfectly cast. They played their parts perfectly and looked amazing in the costumes of the era. The book was truly amazing and moving. It made me think about how we all have treated each other over the centuries, and like Ryan, it always makes me sad.

It reminds me that we are still fighting for simple civil rights. I grew up in the South. My great grandparents had African American “help.” After reading this book, I talked to my grandma about it. I never once remember ever hearing my family (my mom’s or my dad’s sides of the family) speak in a derogatory way of anyone from that culture. I grew up not even knowing their was ever a difference. My grandma said that she remembered her maid and that she was like family. Their families spent Christmas together and everything. This made me so proud of my grandma and my family before me. I get to claim to be a part of the lucky ones. There is still so much racism and prejudice out there and it is sickening. I wish everyone could just go about their own lives and leave others to theirs.

The book isn’t based on real-life events. All of it is fictional, and even knowing that it is still heartwarming and enlightening. I totally recommend both the book and the movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Helter Skelter (2004)