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Flash Movie Review: Despicable Me

Words of encouragement can make such a difference in a person’s life. In a similar way, a lack of encouraging words can also have a dramatic effect on an individual. When there is a new member in my yoga classes, I make a point to tell the person they did a good job at the end of class. Especially when they have paid attention to what their body was physically able to do; instead of trying to copy my every move. When I first started attending group exercise classes, I felt intimidated. It seemed as if everyone knew the moves. There I was trying to copy the steps; not only feeling uncomfortable, but aware that the extra 85 pounds I was carrying made me stand out even more. A kind word or two would have been nice. I never went back to that particular class. In this animated film, I was surprised to find what motivated the main character Gru, voiced by Steve Carell (Hope Springs, Date Night). When the world discovered the Great Pyramid of Giza was stolen, Gru was determined to do something even more spectacular. He wanted to be the most evil villain of all time. Not only would he not be outshone but he would make his mother proud. His mother was voiced by Julie Andrews (Tooth Fairy, Victor Victoria). His plan to beat master thief Vector, voiced by Jason Segel (The Muppets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), hit a speed bump when three orphaned girls entered his life. The movie started out slow for me, but I soon realized the humor had a certain amusing sophistication to it, not a typical slapstick schtick. While Steve did a perfect job with his character, I had no idea Julie and Jason were the voices of their characters. The humor was appropriate for all ages and I liked the added twists to the story. It is amazing what some people will do just to get approval. I for one approved of this movie.

 

3 stars — DVD

 

Flash Movie Review: Unconditional Love

Just from the movie title, this comedy should get an extra star in its rating. Unconditional love is a powerful combination; a term I have always tried to live my life by. For anyone who lives with unconditional love, I say more power to them. Besides having a great movie title, I am doing a different type of review because I was an extra in this film. I will share my observations as I was fulfilling one of my dreams–to see and be part of a movie production. Kathy Bates (Misery, Titanic) played Grace Beasley. Devastated when her husband Max, played by Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters franchise), told her he did not want to be married to her any longer; on an impulse, Grace decided she would fly to London to attend the funeral of her favorite entertainer Victor Fox, played by Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise). While in England Grace convinced Victor’s partner Dirk Simpson, played by Rupert Everett (Hysteria, My Best Friend’s Wedding) to fly back with her to Chicago to find out who had killed Victor. There was a trail of madcap events that ensued which would put the couple in danger and have an affect on the entertainer’s estate. This was a fluffy, harmless comedy caper with a robust cast of characters. The story was silly for the most part, but I still enjoyed it. Kathy Bates was an incredibly warm person who would come to the set each day in a full length fur coat, fluffy house slippers and her little pet dog. The staff told us we were not allowed to look Rupert Everett in the eyes, nor speak to him unless he spoke to us first. He was surly and ignored everyone except his fellow actors. Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters, Peter Pan) who played Victor’s sister Nola Fox was absolutely charming, sitting with the extras in the general dining area. Throughout the day the extras were fed pizza and doughnuts between takes. Luckily I brought some snacks that were a little healthier. The scene I was in included Barry Manilow and Sally Jessy Raphael. Between shots Barry entertained everyone by singing and playing the piano. Sally would walk behind the set after each take, where her husband dutifully waited for her. My scene was at the very end of the movie; I was an audience member of a television show. It took 2 1/2 days to film that one scene because Dan Aykroyd purposely kept changing his lines, causing everyone to crack up with laughter. If you look beyond his shoulder you can see a younger me with a full beard and more hair on my head, having the time of my life.

 

2 1/2 stars — DVD

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