“Brave” (Animated/Adventure: 1 hour, 40 minutes)
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, crude humor, brief nudity and thematic elements including intense scenes)
Movie Review: King Fergus (Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Thompson) announce to the lords of medieval Scotland that their daughter, Princess Merida (Macdonald), is ready to wed one of their sons. Merida is a young adventurous woman who does not want to marry. She rebels against any notion of a prearranged marriage. She wants to find her destiny her way. Her mother, Queen Elinor, disagrees. In a rambunctious manner, she wishes for a different life. When she gets her wish, it is not what she expects. Her desire to do things her way causes chaos for the kingdom.
“Brave” features a young woman as its hero while engaging a major stereotype, the notion that mothers and daughters are at odds and squabble constantly. Mother-daughter disagreements are at the heart of this feature. This is only the superficial surface of this adventure. Once that layer is removed, this adventure is engaging.
This animated adventure nicely shows the requirements placed on young women and girls as opposed to young men and boys. Societies still place certain requirements on girls and women not placed on young men. The character Merida mentions this during a scene regarding her triplet brothers. This is an underlying concept executed with skilled precision.
Although cultural underpinnings dominate the story, they also give it profound imagination.
A cast of Scottish actors and comedians make this film authentic and entertaining. Think of this film as a milder female version of “Braveheart” (1995). Unlike Mel Gibson’s William Wallace battling against English rule, Merida is battling tradition. It is a tougher battle, but the brave young lady manages to put up a good fight and prevail.
Her thick head of red curly hair is fascinating. Care for her cause is instinctual.
Grade: B (Brave endeavor)
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Action/Fantasy: 1 hour, 45 minutes)
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Rated: R (Violence, brief sexuality and gore)
Movie Review: If historical accuracy is desired, you will only find some of it here. This portrayal of the sixteenth President of the United States is a fantasy, action piece. It portrays Abraham Lincoln foremost as a vampire hunter rather than the statesman history exhibits.
Of course, this fictional account should have moviegoers wondering. This film is not a joke. It is not as terrible as one might think, but it leaves plenty room for improvement. It is based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. Yes, it really portrays Honest Abe as a very fit and able vampire hunter, armed with a silver-coated axe that also transforms into a gun.
Lincoln is played by Walker (“Kinsey,” 2004). His noble facial features work for the younger Lincoln. He plays a young vampire-hunting Lincoln robustly, yet he is not as effective playing older Lincoln. Like many actors who play an older Lincoln, Walker relies too much on the makeup to transform him into the United States’ most notable president. An actor must still have the chops to convince audiences he is Lincoln and not someone who appears like him.
Meanwhile, Sewell plays another bad guy. This is a common role for him. Anthony Mackie appears unconvincing, but he appears starstruck happy while playing his role. Even more, his character is African-American, but this does not appear to restrict the character’s ability to go and do anything in an 1840s-1860s, Caucasian-American-dominated United States. On the good side, Cooper is wonderful as Lincoln’s vampire hunter trainer. Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is neat as Mary Todd Lincoln.
The movie is good on vampires. They add the necessary thrills with their grotesque faces. Otherwise, Director Bekmambetov (“Wanted,” 2008, which starred Angelina Jolie) allows this screenplay to jump from one scene to the next haphazardly. He appears more intent on finishing a story rather than keeping consistency. This photoplay tells a fictional story with potential but has a poor execution.
Grade: C- (Producers may get staked.)
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” (Comedy: 1 hour, 41 minutes)
Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and Adam Brody
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Rated: R (Strong language, violence, thematic elements, drug-alcohol usage and sexuality)
Movie Review: Twenty-one days until a gigantic asteroid hits Earth, humanity finds its final days are near. Chaos reigns supreme some places and a joyful peacefulness is in place at other locations. In the middle of a chaotic area, Dodge Peterson (Carell) is a lonely man. His wife has just left him, he observes a coworker commit suicide and he awakes in a park to find a dog attached to him. Not all is lost. Just days before life on the planet faces extinction, Dodge meets Penny (Knightley), a calm, weed-smoking, younger woman. She is his next-door neighbor. They fall for each other as their lives are about to end.
“Seeking a Friend’s” major fault is that it advertises itself as a comedy. The previews show the funniest scenes. What is left is a romance that is sometimes comically quirky but often more dramatic.
This is a romance with a backdrop of doom. Carell and Knightley are like roses in that doom scenario. They portray their roles well, as do others, including Brody as Knightley’s boyfriend, Tonita Castro who plays Carell’s house cleaner and William Petersen as a weird trucker. The film is a well-acted production despite an occasional lack of focus.
“Seeking a Friend” is a film that develops slowly, developing characters as its story unravels. It works as a nice dramedy, a mix of comedy and drama. A certain serene nature exists when viewing this that calms and conveys everything is going downhill but it is fine.
Grade: B (A noteworthy venture)
“Brave” (Animated/Adventure: 1 hour, 40 minutes)
Cool Summer Reads
They don’t have the ad budgets or the hype of summer movies. They lack the radio airplay of summer music.
But summer books have a lot to offer.
‘Gatsby’ is great entertainment
Movie Reviews: "The Great Gatsby," "Peeples"
Author puts the Southern back into an Old West legend
Doc Holliday meets Gone With the Wind
All should fall for Guild’s ‘Cliffhanger’
A play review
Banks Lake Art
Visit enough area art shows, you will eventually find artists inspired by the beauty and vitality of Lanier County’s Banks Lake.
Billings, Montana: Where the old West remains alive
Montana bills itself as “Big Sky Country,” a pretty accurate claim in our opinion. The self-described Treasure State is blessed with mountains and hills for recreation, prairies for farming and ranching, and lakes, rivers, and streams for boating, fishing and swimming. Stand in the middle of the state and it seems as if you can see a thousand miles in any direction.
Stamp Out Hunger
Postal food drive returns this weekend
Langdale book seeks relationship between conservatism and the South
A former Valdosta resident has written a book that delves into both “the rise of the modern conservative movement and the demise of Southern regional distinctiveness.”
‘Iron Man 3’ has a rusty plot
Movie Reviews: "Iron Man 3," "The Big Wedding," ""Pain & Gain"
All in the Details
Lowndes High presents annual spring art show
- More Features Headlines
- Cool Summer Reads