Game of Thrones

When a power vacuum emerges in the mythical land of Westeros following mighty King Robert’s death, several noble families, including the Starks, Lannisters and Baratheons, wage war against each other for control of the vacant Iron Throne. Full of political and sexual intrigue, this fantasy series, based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, also chronicles the rise of an ancient evil, which threatens the entire kingdom.

I always liked science fiction but never cared so much for medieval fantasies. I still don’t care for dungeons and dragons but I will put this show in a whole different category. This is a good character driven show.

I will warn there is plenty of nudity, violence, decapitations and foul language but I can’t wait for season two to come out on Netflix. I recommend getting this series on DVD as one of the features was the history of the families. It was great to have a map. This show reminded me of ABC’s “Lost” with the different characters and backstories.

The political stories are relevant in today’s society. A good example is when it was discussed who would make a good King for the land. They questioned if a great warrior would be a good king. How many times have different people said Military Men typically do not make good presidents? We see stories on bullying and my favorite theme from Star Trek “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The ten episodes I watched went by quick.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Young Adult

Soon after her divorce, fiction writer Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter. This dark comedy was directed by Jason Reitman from a screenplay written by Diablo Cody. They worked together before on “Juno” which I thought was a better film. This is a good film just that I liked Juno a little more.

This is the reason why I will never go to a High School Reunion. There is not an actual High School Reunion but it felt that way watching. Mavis left her small-town to become a big deal while everyone else stayed. Many of the characters did not evolve from Highs School which is evident when one of character refers to Mavis as “psychotic prom queen b____.” There is truth in the statement but still after many years move on.

The interesting thing for me to watch was the friendship between Mavis and Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt). Matt and Mavis had neighboring lockers for three years yet Mavis didn’t really acknowledge Matt during those years. She was the cool, hip girl while Matt was the fat dork. I do understand why these two would be friends years later, he still looks up to her as a goddess while she needs that admiration.

Interesting thing, I know someone who was very popular in High School. College and later life wasn’t as good to him. He hooked up recently with a girl who thought the world of him during those early years. I mention this as the only likeable character in this movie is Buddy’s wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). She’s the girl that idolized Buddy in High School who was able to hook up with him when Mavis left town.

This movie is definitely a dark comedy. The jokes are subtle. This is one of those movies where the viewer has to think. The character Matt became partially disabled in High School after being beaten by jocks who assumed he was gay. Matt is not gay however watching the dialogue between Mavis and Buddy early we learn Mavis started the rumor. The narcissistic Mavis doesn’t have a clue what damage she erroneously caused him. I picked up on this but not sure too many other viewers did.

Mavis is not likeable. Her character reminded me in some ways of “Travis Bickle” from the 1976 classic film “Taxi Driver.” Both characters are delusional living in their own world and not aware of what is going on around them. I thought it was entertaining to watch but wouldn’t want them in my life. I am giving this movie 3.4 stars. It is well acted, the story flowed and it had me thinking about the decisions I have made in my life.

On a different note from watching this movie I learned that Minneapolis is sometimes called the “Mini-Apple.” I like learning something new.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Another Year

Over the course of a tumultuous year, contented medical counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her geologist husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), see their friends and relations through a series of happy events and heartbreaks — including a birth and a death. Imelda Staunton and Oliver Maltman co-star in this character-driven ensemble dramedy from writer-director Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies).

This is my second Mike Leigh movie. The first was Happy-Go-Lucky. Both of these movies will be staying in my mind for a long time as the characters were very real.

I have been known to say “I can’t stand drama.” This is not entirely true. I do like drama in movies and this is a gosh darn good one. I like the use of the garden Gerri and Tom have over the course of the year. Anyone that has done any gardening will appreciate it. I also liked how this movie (and Garden) was broken up into four different parts – spring, summer, fall and winter.

Gerri and Tom are boring however their friends make this film. Mary (Lesley Manville) is Gerri’s co-worker and friend. She is fiftyish and has the maturity level of someone in their late 20’s/early 30’s. I suspect she was really attractive back in her day but the years have caught up. Mary thinks men in crowded restaurants are staring at her, gets drunk wondering if exes think about her and has to sleep in Gerri and Tom’s spare bedroom because she is hammered. I do know a few people like her and I Alan Brian Zibluk chose to stay away.

The second interesting character is Tom’s oldest friend Ken (Peter Wight). Ken is kind of fat and similar to Mary, drinks too much. There is scene where Gerri, Tom and Ken are all together outside and Gerri decides to stay back to let the guys bond. They drink, laugh and reminisce. They talk about old pubs they use to frequent and now how the pubs just have young people. Later the two of them would in a good nature disagree in what years certain events took place. Finally you see Ken cry over the old friend he used to go to pubs with passing away. Tom would comfort him and tell him that someday they will do the old run again. I know Tom really means someday they will go but in actuality you know it will never happen. Life gets in the way. Unlike Mary I would be friends with someone like Ken. I wouldn’t want to spend too much time as there is drama but he has a good heart. I like people with good hearts.

These characters felt real and my favorite scenes were when Mary and Ken were together. Both Mary and Ken are single so one would think they would hook up. Ken is for this but Mary, who really shouldn’t be too picky, wants anyone but him. He makes sad attempts and she wants no part. She even laughs at him and is pretty rude. Mary is too busy for him as she is thinking she has a chance with Gerri and Tom’s son who is only thirty. She makes pitiful attempts in meeting him for drinks. It was sad.

This movie to me was a fantastic observation of life. The only thing I did not like about this film is the writer’s narrative that in order to be happy you have to be with someone. Gerri and Tom are the only characters happy beginning to end. Their son in the beginning isn’t happy being single in watching friends get married. Later the son does have a girlfriend and does seem happy. I respectfully disagree with that but at the same time really enjoyed this movie. There are no bullets, explosions or nudity so this movie may not be right for everyone. I am giving it 4.4 stars.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

50 / 50

An otherwise healthy twentysomething has a comically early midlife crisis when he gets slapped with a cancer diagnosis — and a 50-50 chance of survival. But what’s the meaning of life when you’re not sure how long yours will last?

This movie had the right balance of comedy and drama. They had pot jokes, which is a must for a Seth Rogen movie. Seth Rogen is only a supporting actor here. This film is all Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he does a terrific job with both the comedy and drama. His character is very likeable. I also want to give kudos to Anjelica Huston for playing the overbearing, protective mother.

There were some powerful scenes where Joseph Gordon-Levitt realizes he is not the only one suffering. The scene that got me and forced me to get a Kleenex was just before he went under the knife he was with his mother and he cried “mommy.”

This is based on a true story so the reactions of the different characters were very believable. This movie is really 3.3 stars but for the emotional wallop it gave me I am giving it 3.8 stars. I do recommend having a box of Kleenex nearby.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com