THE last time a new updated version of an electronic device came out I happened to be at the shopping mall. A long line of people snaked halfway across the mall, waiting for the store to open. During my college years I remember standing in line for hours to buy tickets for a rock concert, but waiting in line for an extended amount of time just to buy a cell phone or computer device seemed odd to me. Being the curious type I walked up to a few of the waiting people at various places in line to ask them why they were there. After they would tell me I asked them if this was a 1st time purchase of the device or were they upgrading to the latest version. Only one person was there to buy their first phone; everybody else just wanted the newest device. As a sidenote every person I asked had their phone out and it appeared to me they were in perfect working condition. On one hand I can understand if someone wants the latest device but on the other, the devices are not cheap and really how much would the new items change the owner’s life. THERE is one other aspect I have noticed that motivates people to buy the latest things. I believe there is a fear the person will appear old or out of touch by other individuals. I see it in myself, not that I run my life based on what other people think of me. Every time I go to the bank the teller asks me to slide my ATM/debit card in the card reader right after they say hello. I used to say I do not have one but got tired of saying each time; so now, I simply hand them my driver’s license. More times than not the teller will look up at me and say, “You don’t have an ATM card?” The looks I get from the various tellers borders on disdain or incredulousness. You would think I had committed some horrible transgression. Just because I do not have an ATM card doesn’t mean I am an old fogey; I choose to only get things that add value to my way of living. Not having an ATM card makes me feel safer that my account will not get hacked. Some things still have worth even if they have a new replacement and this message comes across in a strong way in this animated adventure comedy. LIGHTNING McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson (No Escape She’s Funny That Way), was on top of the world until he was beaten by a younger race car. Though others counted him out he still believed he had something to offer. This latest sequel in the franchise also starred Cristela Alonzo (Cristela-TV, Hey It’s Fluffy-TV) as Cruz Ramirez and Chris Cooper (Demoltion, Adaptation) as Smokey. I thought the animation was outstanding; there were some outdoor scenes that made me wonder if the backgrounds were real and only the cars were drawn in. The script had value especially due to a couple of the story lines. However there was a long lull I experienced as the car races seemed too long. I actually enjoyed the beginning and end parts to this film. Part of the reason could be attributed to the limited audience the writers were writing to; there was little comedy and what there was would only be appreciated by a younger crowd. With a little more detailing and tweaking this would have been a more exciting movie. There was an extra scene at the end of the film.
2 1/2 stars
Part of maintaining my certificates for teaching fitness and yoga is attending continuing education classes. I usually sign up for a variety of classes during fitness conventions. There has been several times where the class description did not match the course content. During those times I felt like a foreigner. It seemed as if everyone was talking a different language than me, especially when the other participants were engaged in the instructor’s discussion. It was uncomfortable as I sat there feeling out of place. I have to tell you I had a similar reaction while watching this film. As far as I can remember I have never read or seen a production of William Shakespeare’s story, “Much Ado About Nothing.” It was a large disadvantage I felt, for being able to follow this comedy from writer/director Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-TV). The story was about the different aspects in love and romance; focusing on one couple becoming attracted to each other, while another couple started out bickering with each other. For the majority of this sharp looking black and white film I was lost. Joss did the filming from his actual house, using actors he had used before such as Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Castle-TV) as Dogberry, Amy Acker (The Cabin in the Woods, Catch Me If You Can) as Beatrice, Alexis Denisof (First Knight, The Avengers) as Benedick and Clark Gregg (The Avengers, Iron Man franchise) as Leonato. Using Shakespeare’s words, Joss wrote and directed this film. I found it odd to have a modern setting while the actors were speaking Old English. The acting was good and as I said earlier, I enjoyed the look of the film. Because I was floundering as I tried to figure out what was happening, I will tell you about the audience. It was an older crowd, where several exclaimed their surprise at how full the theater was for this movie. They laughed out loud throughout, as I saw several couples acknowledge particular scenes with a hand gesture or nod of the head towards their companion. At the end of the film it appeared as if everyone immensely enjoyed the movie. In light of this I will give two ratings, one from the crowd and one from me.
3 stars from audience 2 1/2 stars from me
Even with me not being a pie guy when it comes to desserts, this delectable movie made me hungry. The scrumptious looking baked pies added an extra richness to the wonderful story. Jenna Hunterson, played by Keri Russell (August Rush, Felicity-TV), was in a loveless marriage with her controlling husband Earl, played by Jeremy Sisto (Clueless, Into Temptation). Added to her misery was discovering she was pregnant with his child, extending or possibly cementing what she felt was her prison sentence. Only familiar with her work in August Rush, I was impressed with Keri’s acting. She was excellent in the role, beautifully displaying a full range of emotions. When she met new resident, Dr. Jim Pomatter, played by Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Castle-TV); little did she know how her life would change. Dreaming of having enough money to become independent and free of her husband, Jenna planned on entering one of her creations into the pie contest, with the hope of winning the 1st place cash prize. I was truly moved by this lovely, sentimental film. It was a shame Adrienne Shelly, the writer and director, did not live to see the finished movie about the strength of a sweet southern woman’s heart and her ability to pour it into her pies.
3 1/4 stars — DVD