Movie Monday

09/12/14 Movie Monday , Uncategorized # , , , , , , , , ,

Begin Again

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight

After seeing Boyhood, we decided we HAD to watch the rest of Richard Linklater’s films. We were not disappointed with this trilogy of films about two strangers who spend one night walking around Austria, just talking and getting to know each other, followed by their interaction at two later dates. Simple and sweet. Streamed two of the movies from Amazon and rented one of them from Redbox.


Begin Again

We were super lucky a couple of weeks ago to get free passes to two different movies through AMC and their Stubs reward program. Begin Again was one of them, and I was totally blown away by how much I loved this movie. Witty and smart, it’s definitely one of the year’s best Indie dramas. If you’re looking to be uplifted in that authentic life-is-difficult-but-it-will-all-be-okay kind of way, this is your movie. Saw at AMC, courtesy of free passes from the AMC Independent Facebook page.


As Above/So Below

This was our other free movie from AMC, and as horror movie aficionados, we were super excited to see it. I wouldn’t say it was groundbreaking, but it was a fun ride, and the Paris catacombs as a setting was a nice touch. Saw at AMC courtesy of AMC Stubs and Fandango.


A Night in the Woods

Speaking of horror movies, we’re always on the lookout for good ones that flew under the radar. The Tribeca designation has begun to symbolize smart, innovative filmmaking in the genre, so we were anxious to give this one a try. It didn’t quite hold up to The Resolution, but it was a quality film that definitely gave us the creeps. The English moor setting was unique, and I think you’ll like this one if you’re a fan of movies like The Blair Witch. Streamed from Amazon.


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08/23/14 Movie Monday , Uncategorized # , , , , , , , ,

What If…?

Last week’s movies for you movie buffs!

What If

We saw What If as a matinee ($6!). It’s a garden variety Indie RomCom centered around a group of hipsters and their romantic dilemmas, primarily Wallace and his attraction to best friend, Chantry. Kind of an updated When Harry Met Sally. Entertaining but not groundbreaking.



This movie featuring Tom Hardy was one we hotly anticipated earlier in the year, but it never made it to our theater (I’m not sure it was ever taken out of limited release). The entire movie is set in a car while one man makes an hours-long drive that becomes a transition to a life-changing event. It might sound boring, but the intensity of the story illustrates that a movie (or book or whatever) doesn’t have to be high-concept to be gripping. Tom Hardy is awe-inspiring as the average man trying to keep hold of his tightly controlled emotions during a tumultuous event that is largely out of his control. Rented through Redbox.


Last Love

A lovely little movie about love, loss, family, and what it means to really be alive. Michael Caine is transcendent as an American widower living in Paris. He’s just kind of going through the motions of life until he meets a young woman who ignites a long lost spark in him. This is not a romantic movie in the way you might think, but it’s lovely and beautiful and a little sad. We loved it! Streamed on Netflix.


Final Destination

Watched this classic with the kids because they hadn’t seen it. Way better than the follow ups, and entertaining as scary movies go. It holds up pretty well for an older movie. I think we streamed this on Amazon. Couldn’t find the trailer for the original, but I’m sure you don’t need it!


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08/01/14 Life , Movie Monday , Uncategorized # , , , , , , ,

Compliance, Syriana, Resolution, Wish I Was Here

Since we watch so many movies in our house, I thought I’d start giving you guys a heads up on the ones we like, especially streaming since that’s a nice, low-cost form of entertainment, and I think we’re all familiar with the agony of wading through the thousands of available movie on five different streaming services.

Last weekend we got lucky with FOUR movies that are good bets all around. Following are the trailers and a brief rundown on each.


Deeply unsettling, especially since it’s based on a true story. I couldn’t help wondering not only how much we’ve all been brainwashed into complying with any kind of authority figure, but how many young women would feel powerless in this kind of situation. Terrifying.


A political thriller that explores the complex nature of our relationship with oil and the lengths governments across the globe — our own included — will go to secure it. I love movieswith intersecting story lines like this one (a la TRAFFIC).


We were looking for a horror movie and ended up with this Tribeca film about a guy who holes up with his best friend in the middle of nowhere to help him get clean. It was really disturbing, and there was tons of symbolism that I didn’t fully grasp until we read the analysis. One of those gems you feel fortunate to stumble upon.

And if you’re looking to go to the theater, WISH I WAS HERE was a fun romp through Zac Braff’s brain. It wasn’t technically perfect, but it was moving and real and I really enjoyed it. Plus, it has a an awesome soundtrack.


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07/01/13 Movie Monday , Uncategorized # , , , , , , , , , ,

 “Sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse.”

 “Sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse.”

This one’s for my fellow cinephiles. If you haven’t seen STOKER, you must. Beautiful, riveting, and twisted is only the beginning. The score is amazing, too, and I’m especially grateful for the introduction to Emily Wells, whose song BECOMES THE COLOR brings the film to a perfect close.


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09/10/12 Movie Monday #


This week’s Movie Monday features Warrior, an amazing film from 2011 starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as estranged brothers who face off in an MMA championship match.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m not a sports fan. I’ve tried. I watched my boys play baseball (and watched baseball games with them) and soccer, learned to play golf so I could play with my ex-husband, and attended every one of Caroline’s softball games

And while I love watching my kids do anything – the sport itself? Not so much.

But sports movies are an exception when the character development and human interest part of the story is powerful. Examples for me are The Blind Side (aside from the fact that I spent the whole movie stifling sobs), Invictus, Miracle, and now, this one.

The thing I loved most about this movie was how well it avoided overused tropes of the genre. There was so much depth to the characters and so many gray areas, you never really knew who you were rooting for.

Kind of like life.

It also featured some truly incredible acting on the part of Edgerton, Hardy (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors), and Nick Nolte.

But the coup de grace for this movie was the final scene, to my mind one of the most powerful final scenes in any movie. I’ve posted it below the trailer, but if you’re planning on watching the movie (it’s currently streaming on Netflix), don’t spoil it for yourself!


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08/27/12 Movie Monday

Movie Monday Returns with The Way

Welp, it’s been awhile. I planned to be good about blogging this summer, but it was Rebekah’s last summer before college and I found I just wanted to spend time with her and the other kids. I did some writing, but other than that, we watched movies, read books, and just hung out.

It was lovely, but I’ve missed you guys and am excited to catch up!

I can’t think of a better way to get back into the swing of things than with the return of Movie Monday to spread the word about a movie I ADORED.

THE WAY is one of those very rare gems. A movie that makes you laugh and cry and inspires you to do something different. A little Indie written, directed, and produced by Emilio Estevez (color me impressed, for realz), this film moved me so much that I watched it twice in one week (aided by the fact that it’s currently streaming on Netflix).

The plot centers around the death of a Tom’s son, Daniel, while walking the Camino de Santiago, a path through Spain that people walk to make “pilgrimage”. I’d never heard of the trail, but it turns out people make the walk for all kinds of reasons, some looking for miracles and others seeking a catalyst for change.

Daniel was a traveler, forgoing his doctorate to see the world, much to the chagrin of his traditional father (perfectly portrayed by Estevez’s real life father, Martin Sheen). When Tom goes to France to pick up his son’s remains, he makes an impromptu decision to hike the Camino. In the process, he finally comes to understand his son — and maybe even himself.

THE WAY is one of those very rare movies that I can honestly pronounce “perfect” from beginning to end. Hats off to Estevez and his whole cast and crew.


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03/12/12 Movie Monday #

Like Crazy

Watched this great little Indie, LIKE CRAZY, over the weekend and absolutely loved it. It’s a quiet film with a great story, fantastic acting Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence are all fabulous), and something to say about how much we change as we move trough life and how very hard it can be to hold onto even those we love most.

Highly recommend if you get the chance to watch it (Redbox has it right now). It’s my pick for this week’s Movie Monday!


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01/23/12 Movie Monday #

Movie Monday – The Debt, I Am Legend, and Jack Goes Boating

This past week I watched three movies. The first was The Debt, featuring Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Tom Wilkinson. This is a great movie set in the 1960s (through flashbacks) and today. It centers around three secret Mossad agents trying to abduct a known Nazi war criminal for the purposes of bringing him back to Israel for trial. When the mission goes awry, the trio make a decision that will alter the course of their lives and ultimately, mean a debt that must be repaid. I loved the coloring of the 1960s scenes and the acting was stellar. Mirren just gets better and better and Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life) is fast becoming one of my new favorites.

On Saturday, we re-watched I Am Legend, which I originally saw in the theater right after it was released. I forget how awesome this movie is, but it was at the front of the current Dystopian trend (and if you want to see the original, see the 1971 film Omega Man). This is a winner all-around – great acting by Will Smith, an of-the-moment premise, and a great score by James Newton Howard.

Lastly, we opted out of our usual Sunday documentary because after a pipe burst in our basement (and after spending all day Sunday dealing with it), frankly, I’d had enough reality. Instead, we opted to watch a quirky independent comedy called Jack Goes Boating. Phillip Seymour Hoffman both stars and directs, and while this wasn’t an edge of your seat movie, it’s a sweet story about love later in life – both finding it and losing it. It’s streaming on Netflix, too!

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01/09/12 Movie Monday #

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I have a confession to make; The pressure of Mystery Monday finally got to me!

It’s not that the world isn’t full of mysteries. It is! It’s just that I’d wait until the minute to choose a topic and inevitably stress myself out hunting for a subject, link, etc.

So I decided to make a change with the new year. I’ll still do Mystery Monday from time to time when I have one, but when I don’t, we’ll talk about movies, because as you all know, I ADORE movies. Between DVDs and streaming, I watch at least two a week, which should give us plenty to talk about.

Let’s start with David Lynch’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I say “David Lynch’s” because a Swedish version was made first, and I have to say, I LOVED it. It was dark and brutal and the scenery was gorgeous. Plus, it’s interesting how the actors they chose (all of whom did an amazing job) didn’t have the slick, homogeneous beauty of American actors. I liked that about it!

David Lynch’s version was different – slicker, a little more subtle, and definitely Americanized – but I still enjoyed it. If you haven’t read the books I should tell you that it’s not for the faint of heart. This is a graphic mystery/thriller about men who hate women (so much so that that was the original title of the first book in Larssen’s Millennium Trilogy), a damaged, badass woman who takes matters into her own hands, and a man who loves women and fights to see that they get justice.

The casting was dead on with Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Slander and Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and while the score (done by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails) was, in my opinion, too generic for such an intense story, the overall film held it’s own with the Swedish version.

On another note, if you haven’t read the book and like this kind of thing, you should. It’s an incredible trilogy.

Here’s the trailer;



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Michelle Zink is the award-winning author of over seven novels. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
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