Depending on the day it could feel as if you have either a veil or shroud draped over you. A bright shining sun cannot penetrate the darkness that surrounds you. Each step may need all of your concentration to make the effort to lift your foot off of the ground from its footprint’s vice like grip. Depression lets the irrational thoughts win the battle over one’s rational thoughts. I have witnessed and experienced the darkness of depression. For each person the response to it can be so different. Some people will sleep away the majority of the day while others will focus on a particular food, consuming it way beyond the daily recommended amount. For those individuals in my circle, I know it is not productive to utter those generic platitudes such as ” cheer up” or “things will get better;” they serve no meaningful purpose. All I can do is stay in contact and be supportive. DEPRESSION was a trait estranged twins Maggie and Milo, played by Kristen Wiig (Girl Most Likely, Whip It) and Bill Hader (The To Do List, Saturday Night Live-TV), had in common. Though they had not spoken or seen each other in 10 years, they each were experiencing the same irrational act at the same time that resulted in them coming together. They would discover more about each other than they knew on their own. Though this film festival winning drama was filled with heavy subject matter, the director beautifully laced the scenes with a delicate to goofy humor. In addition, I have to give credit to the writer/director Craig Johnson (True Adolescents) for not letting the two leads fall into their shared Saturday Night Live type of performances. Kristen and Bill were absolutely amazing; in fact, I feel this was Kristen’s best performance. Their seemless chemistry was perfection. When 2 actors shine as brightly as these two did, it can make the rest of the cast look dull. Luckily that was not the case for Luke Wilson (Death at a Funeral, Legally Blonde) as Maggie’s husband Lance and Ty Burrell (Muppets Most Wanted, Modern Family-TV) as Milo’s former teacher Rich; they held their own in helping make each scene feel complete. The script was thoughtful, filled with subtleness and compassion; I never felt I was being fooled. There was one brief offshoot of the story that seemed unnecessary but it was only a minor complaint. Life is filled with happy and sad moments; for me, when I left the theater I was in a good mood because I had just seen a well done film.
3 1/3 stars
The sting from the punch lingered on my arm. He had done it before but it hurt just as much this time. There was a difference though because I decided to get back at him. I had a knack for quietly cracking pumpkin seeds in my mouth and discreetly keeping the shells in my school desk until I could dispose of them. As the class prepared to go outside for recess I stayed behind, allowing myself just enough time to place some of the empty shells under his school desk. I took the rest of the shells with me, tossing them into a garbage can in the hallway before joining up with my class as it was exiting out the playground door. When we returned to class, it did not take long for the teacher to notice the empty shells below his desk. Sure he denied they were his when the teacher asked him. She questioned each of us who sat around him but their look of confused denial was matched by mine. The boy that hit me was forced to sweep up the entire floor while we continued on with our history lesson. As an adult I can look back and criticize my actions; but back then, I relished the revenge. At least I did not plan the identity switch for criminal reasons like the one that was done to poor Kermit in this comedy caper. While the Muppets were on an international tour the world’s most evil frog Constantine, a dead ringer for Kermit, switched identities with him. While Kermit was imprisoned in a Russian prison headed by Nadya, played by Tina Fey (Admission, 30 Rock-TV), Constantine used the Muppets as a cover for his audacious plot. Seeing the Muppets on the big screen again just brings a smile to one’s face. For the duration they have been around, multiple generations have some type of fond memory about the Muppets. This adventure film had its moments with sight gags, Muppets humor, songs and a cavalcade of celebrity cameo appearances. I enjoyed the performances from Tina Fey and Ty Burrell (The Incredible Hulk, Modern Family-TV) as Jean Pierre Napoleon. As for Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, The Office-TV) as Constantine’s associate, I found him forgettable for the most part. Overall this film was okay but it was lacking the fun, I want to say oomph, I usually feel for the Muppets. The story was, dare I say, somewhat predictable. There was however a creative flair throughout the film and credits, even to the very end. With the Muppets under a new owner I hope this movie is not the start of a string of films based on marketing results instead of fun creativity.
2 1/2 stars
The first time I rode public transportation without adult supervision was so exhilarating. A friend of mine joined me as we took the train to go downtown. I remember sticking my hand out the window just far enough to let it rise and fall on the rushing current of air like an airplane. Prior to this my mother had accompanied me but this time she agreed to let me go with a friend. You see, I knew the route by heart since we used to explore downtown on the weekends. However, this time with my friend I felt for the first time like an independent adult. When I think back to that time it occurs to me isn’t that one of the best compliments a parent can receive about their child, that they are growing up to be an independent and hopefully responsible adult? With that being the case then the boy in this animated film was in good hands with Mr. Peabody, voiced by Ty Burrell (The Incredible Hulk, Modern Family-TV). The smart, creative genius Mr. Peabody, who was in the process of adopting as his son Sherman, voiced by Max Charles (The Three Stooges, The Neighbors-TV), would use his time machine to take Sherman back to events that shaped history. Unfortunately when Sherman’s friend Penny Peterson, voiced by Ariel Winter (Speed Racer, Modern Family-TV), learned of Mr. Peabody’s invention, it would take no time for the two friends to cause a ripple in time that would change history. Would the smartest canine in the world be able to set history right while trying to raise a son? One of the things I liked about the original Mr. Peabody cartoons was his quick wit, puns and sarcastic remarks. Gratefully the writers kept all of that in this adventure film. The actors did an admirable job voicing the cartoon characters, quickly playing off of each other, at times in rapid fire dialog. I found the humor became stale as time went on. With most of the story being predictable I am not sure if younger children would enjoy this movie. The crowd was more adult at the after dinner time showing I attended. I assumed they were there for nostalgic reasons. An issue I had with this film had to do with the ending; I felt it was rushed as it tried to do too much in a short time frame. It redeemed itself with the message I took away from the story on how love makes a family.
2 1/2 stars