At some point nearly everyone has to cross the intersection of uncertainty. It may happen when you are about to become a responsible adult; for others, it could be when you come upon that mental juncture between what you do in life as opposed to what you want to do. There are so many variables on when we travel up to that crossroads during our lifetime. I have heard many people complain about their job and how it does not fulfill them; it simply is a means to earning an income. However, when they reach this intersection during their life they pause a moment to question if this is all their life will ever be. I am a firm believer in doing something you love which will nourish you. A previous job is what I credit for pushing me to explore and teach yoga. Back then my days lost color, faded into a monotone of gray colors. All I did was work, eat and sleep then repeat it all over the following day. I felt I was on a one speed treadmill with no off switch. It was during that time I realized I needed physical and mental stimulation; otherwise, I felt I was going to wither off the vine of life and be discarded in time. TIME seemed to be slipping away for struggling actor Aidan Bloom, played by Zach Braff (Oz the Great and Powerful, Scrubs-TV). Finding himself at a crossroads when his father Gabe, played by Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Chicago Hope-TV), took ill and could no longer help out financially, Aidan had to take a hard look at his life and how he would provide for his family. Directed and co-written by Zach, this comedic drama had some good elements. I thought the cast all worked well together, especially Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, Bride Wars) as Aidan’s wife Sarah, Joey King (Looper, The Crazies) as his daughter Grace and Josh Gad (Jobs, The Internship) as his brother Noah. There was an understated humor through several scenes, nothing out loud or outrageous. The multitude of story lines was the issue I had with this film. They cast a wide net, allowing many viewers the opportunity to find something relatable; however, it was way too much for me and congested the underlying story. I never found a strong connection to anything in the movie; I became uninterested and left with a blah feeling towards the whole picture. With all the movies I have seen I cannot imagine I have reached a crossroads in my reviewing. Nah, I still love what I am doing; I just wish some of the people who worked on this film felt the same way.
The first thing I noticed was the high darkened ceiling. Laid out were curved rows of burgundy colored seats that reminded me of a lake at sunset. I was excited to be at the movie theater, though you could easily say, “movie palace.” The place was built years before there was such a thing as stadium seating. I can still remember a phone book being placed underneath me so I could see over the people’s heads in front of me. The animated films that played in those movie theaters are now considered classics; they enchanted us with their stories, songs and animation. I would get totally engrossed in those wonderful films; their magic would draw me in to become part of their world. Early on in this animated adventure movie those feelings I experienced as a young boy welled up, magically taking me to the kingdom of Arendelle. Kristen Bell (When in Rome, Veronica Mars-TV) and Idina Menzel (Rent, Enchanted) were the voices for Princess Anna and her sister, Princess Elsa. When the kingdom plummeted into a perpetual frozen winter, Anna set off on a perilous journey to find her sister who was the cause of the frigid temperatures. Helping her track down her icy sister was Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff (Taking Woodstock, The Conspirator) and his loyal reindeer Sven. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, which was one of my favorite cartoon movies, this film is proof Disney has not lost its magic. First of all, I loved the story and thought Kristen and Idina were ideal for the roles. The music and songs were not only memorable, but I believe will earn this film an Oscar nomination. There was comedy for all age groups, exciting action and beautiful visuals; just like the old classics. It was so satisfying to watch a well done animated film where the entire audience was enjoying the story as much as me. I found it funny that Olaf the snowman, voiced by Josh Gad (Jobs, Thanks for Sharing), was the one character who I thought would be the most annoying but instead turned out to be amusing. One of my few complaints was about the ending; I felt it was rushed as if the studio had to keep the movie length low, so they could fit in their movie short and abundance of previews. The bottom line here is I had such a good time seeing this wonderful film, experiencing the same feelings I had when I was a kid, except without having to sit on a phone book. Notice the disclaimer towards the end of the film and there was an extra short scene afterwards.
3 1/3 stars
A love relationship is very much like a tree. With care and affectionate nourishment the love grows, branching out to reach further up into the sky. Your relationship solidifies when the leaves open up to shelter and protect you from any harmful rays. Times of sadness come like changing seasons; shriveled leaves dropping like colorless tears. You gather them up and place them around the base of the tree to protect it like a warm shawl, warding off the cold effects of somber winter. The love and support you show will rekindle life into a new season of love. Like a tree one cannot pick and choose the parts they love and ignore the rest. Relationships go through many season of change; unconditional love is what keeps them strong. Love gets tested in this dramatic comedy about people and their addictions. The story centered around Adam, Mike and Neil; played by Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Shutter Island), Tim Robbins (Mystic River, Jacob’s Ladder) and Josh Gad (Jobs, Love & Other Drugs), and the effect their different stages of recovery from addiction weighed on their relationships. The chemistry between Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man franchise, Country Strong) as Phoebe was sparkling real; I enjoyed watching both their playful and serious scenes together. There was an even pacing to the story where I never felt it becoming slow. I expected Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Event Horizon) as Katie to give a good acting performance which she did, but I was surprised at the screen presence from Alecia Moore aka Pink (Get HIm to the Greek, Catacombs) as Dede. Some of the humor was obvious, especially around Josh’s character Neil; it came across as cheap shots regarding Josh’s size. The writers did an admirable job for showing the characters’ addiction as a disease without it becoming a joke. That does not mean it was all seriousness; there were light threads of humor that never reached a higher level of laughter. Without saying it in so many words, I liked the way the theme of unconditional love played out in this romantic movie.
2 2/3 stars
After a few attempts I came to the conclusion that my brain was not wired that way. There was something about a PC’s operating system that did not interface with my mind. I would sit in front of its glowing screen, staring at the dialog box that told me a function did not work, asking me if it was okay. No, it was not okay I would say as the level of my frustration rose. According to my way of thinking, the computer should have been able to correct itself and show me what I needed to do to proceed; it was a computer for heaven’s sake. When I left the PC world, replacing it with an Apple computer, an immediate connection formed between us. This is not meant to be an advertisement or endorsement of their products; I am simply saying the billowing brainwaves in my head found clarity with its operating system. The creator and driving force behind my computer and cell phone was Steve Jobs. From the events he orchestrated and the frenzied crowds who camped out for his products, I would be surprised to find someone who had not heard of this man. To portray such an intense individual in a movie, one would need an actor with some considerable acting abilities. Who this movie studio came up with to play Steve Jobs was Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect, That ’70s Show-TV). In his television commercials, Ashton has an engaging personality that is comfortable to watch. This trait worked for him when he was recreating Steve’s media events in this dramatic film. Unfortunately, it was the only thing that did work for him. Ashton was completely wrong for this character that needed to show the emotional intensity that Steve was known to have and display freely. The script was awful, making the scenes seem like small tidbits that were randomly spliced together. Where I thought Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs, 21) had potential playing Steve’s partner Steve Wozniak, Dermot Mulroney (Zodiac, The Grey) was wasted playing the financial backer Mike Markkula. This was such a disappointing movie; I can only imagine what Steve Jobs would have done after seeing this film. My guess is he would be yelling at everyone involved, using words not usually found in a dictionary; telling them it was ugly and not consumer friendly.
1 2/3 stars