Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

Moonlight

March 10, 2017

MoonlightSo last night was date night again. Be still my beating heart. Our good friend Tamer agreed to watch Mary while Paula and I went to a movie.

So we went to the Regal Promenade Cinema at the Peninsula Center in RPV. Normally, I wouldn’t mention the theater, but this one is special. It has large, extra comfy king sized recliners for theater seating. Also, it had extra leg room. It’s sorta, kinda like the difference between coach and first-class. Once you’ve been in first-class, you don’t want to sit in coach. Plus, we had just about the entire theater to ourselves. Only one other couple in the theater.

Cost of food was outrageous. Paid $5.00 for a bottle of water. They always try to upsell to the larger size for $0.30 more. Next time the bottle of water goes in Paula’s purse.

So the movie that we decided to go to see was “Moonlight” starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Naomie Harris. Directed by Barry Jenkins. The film won three Oscars including Best Picture. The film was just getting to its end of run in theaters. It’s available on DVD or streaming video. Definitely worth watching.

The picture tells the story of a young black boy named Chiron in a ghetto neighborhood in Miami. Chiron is struggling with surviving in the ghetto. He has no father and his mother is a crack addict. He gets bullied at school. Juan comes along and takes Chiron under his wing and together with his girl friend/partner take him under their wing and become surrogate parents.

Chiron is played by three different actors for three different stage in his life. All well done.

It was a little bit difficult at times to follow the ghetto dialect. I suppose subtitles would have been helpful. If I was watching on streaming video I would have turned on the subtitles.

Excellent movie, but I think that La La Land should have received the Best Picture nod. But the Academy didn’t ask me for my vote. Though Naomi Harris and Mahersala Ali sure deserved Best Supporting Actor. Excellent performances all around.

The film is based on the unproduced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney.

So to finish off the evening we stopped at KFC to get a bucket of chicken

La La Land

February 26, 2017

Date night last night. We arranged for a sitter for Mary. A night out can get expensive. We spent $60 for the sitter, $30 for movie tickets and $35 for take out Chinese food.

So we went to see La La Land. This film has been nominated for 14 Oscars. We wanted to see this film before the Oscars were telecast this evening. The film stars Ryan Gossling as a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as an aspiring young actress. The movie tells the story of Mia’s accidental Meeting of Sebastian. They fall in love then sing and dance around LA. They seem to have found some of the most photogenic spots in Hollywood and Los Angeles.

So you think that is a boy meets girl, then they get married and live happily ever after. Think again. They discover that they have competing visions of what their future life is going to be like. Sebastian gets an offer to tour with a jazz band. Mia doesn’t/can’t want to go on tour with him and disrupt her vision of acting.  I won’t say more, because that would give away the plot.

So the music and dancing are superb. Ryan Gosling did an outstanding job on jazz piano. According to IMDB, no CGi or hand doubles were used in the performance. The outdoor dance scenes are done at some of the most outstanding LA locales. I think that I will add a couple of them to visit. One scene was at the Griffith Observatory, beautiful view. Read the Wiki list for the many films that used this beautiful locale. I told Paula that I was adding this to my bucket list. Need to drive up there one of these days. Of course, I think I’ll skip visiting the location for the opening scene on the LA freeways. Been there, done that.


I told Paula that some day I would get a nice convertable like the one the Sebastian drove in the film. She says, you going to tell your dermatologist? Maybe some day. Maybe I’ll have the top down at night.

After the movie was over, we stopped to pickup Chinese takeout at Peter’s Place Chinese Restaurant in Torrance. We would have loved to sit and linger over dinner, but the clock was ticking on our “baby sitter”. Peter’s Place is a small family run Chinese restaurant. It came recommended by my daughter-in-law Theresa. The restaurant was at capacity. Good sign on a Saturday night. So we ordered Kung Pao Chicken, Shrimp with Cashews, and a Noodle dish. All very tasty. The Kung Pao Chicken  had lots of those little hot peppers. My goodness, they will set you free. 

So after 20 minutes we left with our bag of food and headed home. We paid our sitter and sat down for a fine Chinese dinner.

Hidden Figures

January 31, 2017

hidden-figuresAnother night out without Mary. We went to see the movie “Hidden  Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, and Janell Monae. We were going to see La La Land but the showtimes didn’t work for us.

This is the true story of three black women who worked for NASA in the early sixties as “computers”. This was what NASA called the women whose job it was to do the complex calculations that the engineers needed to vet their work.

One particularly amusing scene when the NASA manager asked Katherine Johnson what was taking her so long on her breaks. It turns out the only “colored” ladies room was on the other side of the campus. She had to run across the campus to do her business. They show Al Harrison (played by Costner) taking the sign down with a sledge hammer. No more colored bathrooms. Problem solved.

The movie is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Great film. Nominated for several awards including Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Katherine Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama.

Rogue One

January 24, 2017

So last night, Paula and I finally got out to see a movie. We left Mary home alone sleeping soundly. We went to an early showing of “Rogue One” at the Terraces Cinema. Can’t beat the price. $6 a person with senior discount.  We figured that we would see the show, then pick up a bucket of chicken takeout for dinner.  Got the chicken at “El Pollo Loco“. Chicken was kind of mediocre, but Mary really likes the chicken Tortilla soup. Next time we’ll probably go to KFC.

So the Oscar nominations came out this morning. Rogue One was nominated for sound mixing and special effects. No big surprise there. It’s a good movie but not best actor or best director material. 

There’s lots of action. Lot’s of shooting and fighter shots. So, why no love interest for Jyn? No time for the rebels to have sex? 

So the lead characters are Jyn Eros played by Felicity Jones and Cassian Andor played by Diego Luna. Other sorta well known actors among the cast, Jimmy Smits and Forest Whitaker. Of course, Carrie Fisher was in this one too, although only for a brief appearance at the end of the film.

Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) also made a brief appearance.  Also, cameo for R2D2 and C3PO. Can’t have a Star Wars film without them.

So I was struggling to figure out where this film fits in the whole Star Wars saga. Best I can tell that it is a time just leading up to the original Star Wars, heretofore known as Episode IV. Rogue One ends with the Death Star plans getting uploaded to the Rebel Alliance.

It’s a good film, but as always I have some issues (warning spoilers):

  • Why don’t the empire troopers have better personal armor? Those lasers seem to cut through the armor like it was butter. And while I’m on the subject, why are all the troopers dressed in white? Seems to make them a real good target. Only thing better would be a Red Bull’s eye on their backs.
  • When Jin finally gets the storage device, she climbs up to the top of the tower. She then plugs it in to a storage console that tells her to adjust the antenna. So she heads on out to the end of a walkway and adjusts the antenna. Then the walkway get hit by a laser shot. It seems that the antenna is destroyed. But then she goes back and successfully uploads the Death Star plans to the Rebel ship. How’d she do that without an antenna?
  • Okay, I’m an engineer by training so I know a lot about physics. So I see this portal gateway above the planet Scarif. There is supposedly a force field protecting the surface of the planet. How’s that work exactly? How do the get power to run the force field? It violates all known rules of planetary physics. I know joe, get over it. It’s fiction.

Next week, I think we will try to get to see “La La Land“. Stay tuned.

Star Trek Beyond

July 28, 2016

Star Trek BeyondTuesday night is usually our family dinner night where our son and his family come over for dinner. But last night they were heading up to San Francisco to visit with Theresa’s extended family in the Bay Area. So Paula and I were free for the evening.

So Paula picked up some fried chicken on the home from her shift at the Assistance League in San Pedro. We fed Mary and turned on the news for her on the TV and we headed out to see “Star Trek Beyond” at 7:40 PM. This was a bit later than we normally go to movies, but the price was right. Adult tickets were $5. Didn’t even have to be a senior.

If we wanted to go up to Torrance, we could have seen it either in 3D or IMAX. (For more money of course.) But we decided to do it on the cheap.

I am not sure about the title. It is emminently forgettable. I said to myself, Star Trek something. I had to look it up again on IMDB before I started this post.

Just so you understand, they have the good old NCC-1701 Enterprise along with Capt. Kirk, Spock, Scottie and the rest of the gang. It’s a new story with a new cast of young actors. This reboot was produced by J.J. Abrams.

All of the lead actors are pretty much unknown. The actor who plays Capt. Kirk is Chris Pine. Here’s a bit of trivia. He was the first lead Star Trek actor born after the franchise began. Here’s his link to his IMDB page.

So overall, we enjoyed the show. I thought it was better than the Star Wars reboot that we saw a few months ago. The casting was done well. I felt just a little bit of nostalgia for Leonard Nimoy. In fact, during the credits they had a “In Memoriam” to Leonard Nimoy. Nice touch.

Okay, here come the spoilers. If you want to see the film, stop reading here and go and see it.

So the Enterprise is cruising around the galaxy and they head into a deep space star ship port called “Yorktown”. It was a place where the crew could get some R & R. They were hardly there a day when they get a call to go to some planet deep inside a Nebula or something. You know deep down in your soul that something bad is coming down.

Before you know it Capt Kirk and his band of merry men were under attack. So 15 minutes into the film and the Enterprise crash lands on the nasty planet. That wouldn’t have happened to the old Capt Kirk. Maybe the new Capt. Kirk doesn’t know how to use the shields or something. So the new Capt. Kirk has 1 hour and 45 minutes to make things right.

So most of the crew gets captured by the bad guys on the planet. But our heroes avoid capture and manage to save everyone. That should be enough. It was a fun movie with lots of action. Sometime it was difficult to keep track of everything going on the screen. There was even a motorcycle scene.

 

Date Night

April 24, 2016

Jungle BookSaturday was date night. We really needed to get out without Mom even if only for a couple of hours.

So, we went to see the movie “The Jungle Book“. I guess we are getting cheap in our old age. Jungle Book was available in iMax 3D, Regular 3D and old plain 2D. 2D was $7 a person for Seniors. iMax was $17. We did the old fashioned 2D. Characters were voiced by Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and many more fine actors and actresses.

The film is rated PG and rightly so. There are parts that are pretty violent and might be a bit scary for little kids. I wouldn’t take a kid to see it under the  age of 8 or 9.

We loved it. We went to a 4:45 showing and there were a lot of families with kids in the theater. I particularly liked Baloo voiced by Bill Murray where he starts singing the “Bare Necessities”. We also liked the scenes with King Louie.

Here’s the Bill Murray version from Youtube. I will be playing this tune at Lodge in a couple of weeks.

When you compare this version with earlier versions you can readily see how far the animation technology has come. This film was filmed completely in Los Angeles.

I would give the film 8.5 stars out of 10. We loved it.

And by the way, you can download the Kindle version of the Rudyard Kipling Book from Amazon for $.99. What a deal.

Now for dinner part of date night. We had hoped to try the Hopsaint Brewery restaurant in Torrance. Saturday night was not a good time. We couldn’t even find a parking space. We’ll try another time when it might be less busy.

We came up with a plan B. We decided to go to the “San Franciscan” in Torrance. I was itching to have a good steak. We don’t have a barbeque grill at our place (forbidden my HOA). It was busy too, but at least we found a parking space. Had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

I had a 9 oz Filet Mignon. Paula had something called a “Drunken Sam”. The menu descrbes it as

“Filet mignon, pan fried in burgundy wine and brandy. Served atop fried eggplant and topped with an Ortega chile and jack cheese”

I had a taste. It was very good. Paula cleaned her plate. This is not fancy and the decor is rather plain but food is excellent. This is our place to go to when we have a hunger for steak.

Date Night

March 31, 2016

zootopiaFinally, we had the chance to have another date night last night. Paula and I went to see Zootopia at the Terraces. We went to the 4:30 pm show for  $4 each for seniors. Price for regular folks was $6. Sometimes it’s just fun to go to a kids movie without the kids. Zootopia was no exception. There were many jokes that were clearly aimed at the grown-ups in the audience.

Zootopia is the story of a young rabbit who goes into the big city of Zootopia to become a rookie cop. The rabbit named Judy Hopps doesn’t want to stay on the carrot farm with her parents anymore.

So rookie Officer Hopps joins forces with a cynical con artist fox named Nick Wilde to solve a sinister conspiracy in the great city of Zootopia.

They do a really great scene where the pair goes to the DMV (Department of Mammal Vehicles) to look up a license plate. Of course the clerks at the DMV are all sloths. They work so slowly. What a hoot. Wonder where they got that idea?

Good film, take the kids too. Runs about an hour and a half.

20160331_020800030_iOSSo we were done with the movie by 6:30 pm. Time for dinner. Date night dinners are a chance for us to unwind and talk about how things are going with Mary’s care without her listening.

We decided that it had been a long time since we’ve had Chinese food. So we decided to try the PV Palace on PCH in Lomita. Restaurant was pretty much empty when we arrived. Decent service. We had Mu Shu Pork, Shrimp Fried Rice, and Kung Pao Scallops. All very tasty. The waiter even filled the Mu Shu pancakes for us. We both had a glass of chardonnay. Plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.

Today we are off to the storage locker to clean out a few more boxes of junk (or treasures).