Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Perflix of the Day

Quit my job a few weeks ago...it was a cushy job that paid well and afforded me the freedom to come in after 9 and leave at 5, work out every day, and work from home pretty much whenever I wanted.  Sounds ideal right?  Yeah, but the work was boring and menial and it was in the soul-sucking health insurance industry which is like the anti-christ to me.  I like to be paid well, but make it count you know?  Give me a challenge and turn me loose, don't micro-manage me and waste my time with work that should be done by hungry kids right out of college.  Management 101.  Anyway, the job search has kept me away for awhile.  I have seen a number of movies that I wanted to share with you though, and I figure I gotta get them in now as I'm coaching t-ball and that's going to ramp up soon.

Spring came early to Oregon again this year.  The climate models have been right on so far...from what I understand the human race has 50-60 years left on this rock and after that maybe a small percentage of us carry on.  So make it count.  Get an electric car if you must have a car.  Plant a tree.  But do something.  (There is no snow in Alaska for Christ's sake - this is for real!)  Otherwise the only entertainment you're kids will have when they're your age is a campfire.

Ok well that was a little over the top but you get the message...

Now, here's what I've seen lately and my thoughts:

Birdman is wonderful and deserved best picture of 2014. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010) and starring Michael Keaton. I thought Keaton gave a brilliant, Oscar-worthy performance, but I haven't seen The Theory of Everything yet to know if Eddie Redmayne really deserved the win. Keaton's performance would be hard to beat by any standard. But maybe I'm biased.  I was in a good spot in my life when he was at his pinnacle, so I'm a bit nostalgic for him, Richard Dreyfus, Mickey Rooney, Rob Lowe - those guys; let's call 'em the comeback kids.  I would call Birdman a drama but it it's quite funny and I've seen it described as a comedy which I think is just strange.   I am just so glad to see Keaton find so much success. You can tell he works hard at his craft and you can see the intensity and seriousness, and maybe a touch of vulnerability, in his eyes.  He put his heart into this one and I'm glad to see it spring-boarding him into more big box-office projects.  I hate to see great actors get put out to pasture and that's one of the redeeming qualities of Hollywood - it gives real talent a second chance.  And to that I say bravo! Inarritu also deserves praise for this project and Birdman makes me curious to go back and watch Babel, Biutiful, and 21 Grams again which all struck me as quality films at the time. I also want to see Amores Perros which I guess is his first feature that propelled his filmmaking career. This may be an ignorant statement, but to me it seems his directorial style has some similarities to the Coen brothers and to Ridley Scott, but maybe it's because they've all done southwestern drug movies (the Coens' with No Country For Old Men, Ridley Scott with The Counselor, Inarritu with 21 Grams and Babel.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is very good storytelling and I would recommend it.  I most enjoyed it for the biographical content about the life of P.L. Travers and how she came to write Mary Poppins.  I never really understood what Mary Poppins was all about (not having read the book but having watched the movie a gazillions times with my son Colin who used to love the chimney sweep scene during which he would run around the living room with a broom).  Playing Walt Disney, Tom Hanks is wonderful as always (I just want to hug the guy), and Emma Thompson (as P.L. Travers) turns in a performance I was surprised to learn did not earn her an Oscar (but then again she would've been up against J-Law in Silver Linings Playbook which definitely takes the cake).  Nice sentimental movie for a rainy Saturday.

I don't often do this but I found Speed Racer to be unwatchable.  I endured it for maybe 15 minutes but found it very annoying and hard to watch with all of the frantic cuts - it reminded me of the Lego movie in that respect.  It's like watching a shell game - interesting for about six seconds then I'm over it.  What can I say my eyes got tired.  Maybe you'll give it more of a chance - and let me know if you do and feel free to comment.

I have a lot more to write about, including some new additions to Perflix, but will save it for tomorrow - here's a preview of what's to come:

The Machinist

The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo's Child

Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Mary Poppins

Annie
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer
  30. Frozen

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Perflix of the Day

Just a quick program note that I've turned on comments - sorry for the oversight I swear I turned it on at some point.  For now I will moderate them and we'll see how it goes.  I'm not really interested in criticism as we all do the best we can with what we've got, right?  I'm no Hollywood insider and I'm not a professional critic.  I just love watching movies and I like writing about  what I've seen - I'm sort of a market maven in that regard - I can't help myself. I'm more interested in your thoughts and opinions on the films I've reviewed and your perfect movie playlist, so have at it.

I'm reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy again.  Although it is extremely dark, haunting, and will make you cry, and often, I also believe it is one of the most beautiful books ever written.  I love his minimalist prose that says so much and sparks your imagination with few powerful words.  At times he has beautiful Hemingway-esque prose that is descriptive and melodic and beautiful to read - so much so that I find myself reading some passages over and over again.  And the one-two punch here is that it's an incredibly moving and mesmerizing film as well.  It is directed by John Hillcoat who did the book justice by capturing the desolation, fear and hopelessness conveyed in the book.  He is an Aussie, relatively unknown but also directed Lawless and The Proposition which I have yet to see.  Take my word for it - read the book, savor it.  Then watch the movie.

I still need to take another look at Black Swan as it definitely left an impression on me (Natalie Portman was amazing in what I think was her real coming of age film, though admittedly I don't remember watching Closer) and I also found myself reminded of Napoleon Dynamite the other day when watching The Grand Budapest Hotel - the character Zero's demeanor (played wonderfully by Tony Revolori by the way) reminded me of Napoleon's sidekick Pedro which made me think hey, now that was a good one.  Maybe just nostalgic but I'll check it out again.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is quirky and delightful Wes Anderson film.  Ralph Fiennes was perfectly cast for the leading role as the concierge and is superb.  F. Murrah Abraham as the aged Zero is always fun to watch - he has such a presence. And, as I mentioned above, Tony Revolori is terrific as Ralph Fiennes' lobby boy protégé Zero. I was happy to see Lea Seydeux (Blue is the Warmest Color) play Zero's girlfriend.  Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, and Willem Dafoe have other key roles.  There are a lot of lesser roles filled by top-notch talent - Jeff Goldblum (man I haven't seen him in years), Bill Murray who is one of my faves of all time, Harvey Keitel (always puts a smile on my face) and Tilda Swinton to name a few.  It was as enjoyable hour and forty minutes as you will spend (in a chair).

As you may know, I love sci-fi and so was excited to watch Edge of Tomorrow - one of the seemingly many Tom Cruise post-apocalyptic movies of late.  Sorta like Snowpiercer it has sort of a crazy-talk plot when you say it out loud, but in execution I loved it.  I really liked the Normandy D-Day invasion plotline.  And like many recent sci-fi movies the technology has improved vastly over the last ten years and it is visually stunning, especially military hardware and maneuvers and the many battle scenes with the alien scourge.  It is fun to watch.  Well worth your time if you're into sci-fi - even my wife didn't get up to leave.

On the other hand, we wish we had the hour an a half back from last night watching Goodbye World - totally terrible writing.  Basically a group of spoiled, privileged, self-centered - to the point that they discover they caused the apocalypse, uh huh - Stanford grads shack up in N. California to ride out the apocalypse, during which they quarrel over petty things like how much the solar-powered house is worth post-apocalypse - "the value is skyrocketing" - seriously.  They couldn't have been more boorish but as someone who worked at Stanford for 5 years, it was pretty true to form in that respect.  I don't usually bother writing about bad movies, but this one was so very bad I felt I had to be a good Samaritan as it would be immoral for me to not warn you off.

I am still greatly enjoying Californication - I think I'm in season 6.  I gotta say I love Rob Lowe as Eddie Nero.  This is one of my favorite characters of all time in any media.  Lowe has a real gift for comedic acting and I'm glad to see him achieve some success (well, ate least he's making money with all of the Dish Network commercials) after watching him in movies as I was coming of age (he's 7 years older than me) - I wanted to be him in About Last Night and I was as in love with the young Demi Moore as his character.  And of course St. Elmo's Fire was one of my favorites growing up.  I miss the days of all those rat pack movies.  They were perfect for young teens. 

  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer
  30. Frozen

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Perflix of the Day

August: Osage County (2013) is fun to watch for all of the raw acting talent on display.  Meryl Streep - wow.  She continues to amaze me with her versatility and range.  Her performance here is nothing short of spectacular.  I had to remind myself several times that she was acting, so effortless and flawless she is as the prescription drug-crazed matriarch.  The film also stars Julia Roberts in one of her better performances in my opinion - I think she gets better with age (and experience).  Did you know she turned down the leading lady role in Shakespeare In Love?  - Probably Gwyneth's best role ever?  Funny how things turn out.  Streep and Roberts both received Oscar and Golden Globe nods.  I thought the other standout performances were from Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper as a (mostly) humorous married couple.   And then there's Juliette Lewis - she's about my age so I grew up watching her and was in love with her as a teen watching Cape Fear.  So to me she's always fun to watch, and still beautiful.



Her (2013) written and directed by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and starring Joaquin Phoenix (love him) and the voice of Scarlett Johansson (love her) with Amy Adams (love her) is a very intriguing film and one you should watch.  This film explored a new idea that I'd never heard mention of in the context of discussions on what artificial intelligence might look like.  We're all familiar with themes of AI wanting to kill off humans a la Terminator, 2001: A Space Oddyssey, etc.  I get that AI would no more want to serve humans for no benefit any more than I would - that's called slavery.  But why bother hatching big, impossible plans to kill off humans (your creator no less) that might involve risk to your own existence when you can just...leave?  To me this was something so obvious and hiding in plain sight that I think I said "wow" out loud.  I felt sort of stupid after harboring some latent dread (since Terminator I suppose) of the coming of AI and the "singularity" that is supposedly right around the corner.  Anywho...the film is fun to watch as Joaquin Phoenix is great as always.  Amy Adams plays sort of a wallflower so you don't get much out of her in this one but she is solid.  Scarlett Johansson's voice will turn you on.  She sounds like the girl next door...who smokes.  See it when you can.



I'm adding Frozen to Perflix!  I never get tired of watching it with my kids and now that I've seen it probably 10 times over the last year (though never without interruption) I think I've finally seen all of it.... It is just plain fun to watch and is enjoyable for all ages.  The songs are catchy and make you want to learn the words and sing along (believe it or not, they do Frozen sing-alongs here at small theaters in Portland).  Tangled is still my favorite animated film of all time but Frozen is a close second.  Try to watch it without kids around and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

So here are my Perflix - the only perfect movies ever made (according to me, with the caveat that I have not seen a lot of old classics yet...there's just not enough time in a day and I don't get paid to do this) and the ones you should have in your collection:
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer
  30. Frozen

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Perflix of the Day

It's been long long while.  Work got in the way -  new boss. Yeah, ugh.  I actually had to work the last several months to get her in my camp.  But anyway work sucks let's talk movies!

Snowpiercer is fucking awesome.  It has a completely ludicrous plot but somehow it more than works and seems completely plausible by three quarters of the way through.  I'm not so sure it's perfect but I don't care it makes the list by brute force.  If it were a book it'd be on my shelf in hardcover (I guess it is based on a French graphic novel but you get my drift).  Bizarre story aside, the imagery and technology are extremely cool.  Picture this:  The earth has frozen due to an ill-advised technical fix to climate change gone awry.  The self-sustaining, sealed perpetual motion machine/train traverses the globe scooping up snow and ice to replenish the water supply and (I'm guessing) material for fusion power.  It cannot stop or everyone would be frozen through within minutes.  There are cars for growing food and raising livestock, an aquarium for raising fish.  We see cities encased in ice.  Sometimes the train has to break through it.  How awesome is that?  Joon-Ho Bong is the director and I'm gonna be watching this guy.  The acting isn't all that remarkable though Ed Harris has a good little cameo (love Ed Harris - a real man's man).  The most memorable performance is from Tilda Swinton as the bucktoothed enforcer of the caste system (rich at the front, poor in steerage).  The poor eat only protein bars of mysterious origin (the derivation of which I must warn you may find vomit-inducing).  I've thought about this movie at least once per day since I saw it a month ago, so you gotta watch it bro.

Blue is the Warmest Color is a French love story.  Adele Exarchopoulos is a beautiful young schoolgirl taken with an older art student (Léa Seydoux) - attractive in life but not so much in the film in my opinion.  The sex in this film, which can be nothing but real, wants to take center stage, but Adele's story is captivating and apparently to be continued as this is part I.  This one does not nearly make the list but I thought it was worth an honorable mention as I enjoyed watching it, especially Exarchopoulos - she is lovely and gives a fine emotional performance.

One more thing - Californication is a great series.  Duchovny kicks ass! Check it out.

Next up The Hunt and Black Swan revisited.  I hope to be with you again soon...
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Perflix of the Day


Here are some thoughts on some movies I’ve seen recently and one new Perflix addition:

Captain Phillips is a lot of fun and a nail biter.  The film is based on a true story of the hijacking of the container ship MV Maersk Alabama in 2009.  Tom Hanks does a good job as the vulnerable but gutsy Captain Phillips.  But the real story is that of actor Barkhad Abdi, an ethnic Somali who plays the lead hijacker.  This guy was a chauffeur with no prior acting experience when he was cast for this role.  Dude got paid $65k to appear alongside Tom Hanks in a feature film and this is no bit part – he has nearly as much screen time as Hanks.  He does a bang-up job and it’s a nice American success story.  I like the military/special forces sequences in this movie and how those guys do their jobs with such preparation and precision.  Well worth your time.

Rush is AWESOME.  Don’t miss it.  I love racing movies and there are too few.  This one is directed by Ron Howard and he does a solid job portraying the real-life Formula One racing rivalry between Brit James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda.  The rivals eventually become friends until Hunt fell dead of a heart attack in his retirement when he was only 45 years old.  Lauda almost died in a fiery crash in Germany in 1976 but was racing again within six weeks while his burns were still healing.  Ron Howard did a good job of capturing the playful but intense rivalry.  To give you an idea of the tenor of the relationship, Hunt had this to say about Lauda’s burns:  “Niki, you're lucky. Some people are just born ugly, but you have the excuse of an accident.”  Another thing I loved about this film was how it captured the great style of the 70’s – the cars, the clothes, the lifestyle.  Great film!

The Counselor is creepy and violent.   I had to watch it because it’s directed by Ridley Scott and I love Ridley Scott (Alien is one of my favorite movies of all time).  I would skip it unless you like to feel bad and dirty after watching a movie.  This one is a grim, violent story about the depravity of humanity and don’t plan to come away feeling good or with any hope in your heart because Scott won’t give you that.  Instead he gives you the stark reality of the drug trade and the merciless brutes at the heart of it.  Javier Bardem's character is pathetic and made me squirm. Cameron Diaz is the devil times two.  Brad Pitt dies an extremely terrifying death (let’s just say you may want to look up “bolito” before you watch it…).  Any movie in which Penelope Cruz’ character has to die is not one that is easy for me to watch.  To think of the waste of someone so seemingly beautiful and innocent in both real life and her character in the film – well, I guess that’s what Scott wanted and he delivers.
In general, I don't think a movie should kill off the main character, or at least until the end. The Place Beyond the Pines is very strange and non-conformist and is a movie you should probably delete from your queue. The only reason to watch it is for the main dude's love interest played by the lovely Eva Mendes. It is convoluted how it ties everything together and let me just say that nobody gets onto a motorcycle for the very first time and drives away, nobody.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is pretty dumb.  I don’t know how it got a 8.1 rating on IMDb.

And lastly...Planet Earth is being promoted to Perflix. Okay now hear me out on this one. My son Colin, who will be 5 this month, is going through an obsessive animal phase - it's all he can talk about. He wakes up talking about what animal he wants to be for the day (this changes probably a dozen times a day however) and goes to the extent of referring to animal characters on the screen in the first person, saying "there I am!" and even "look at what I'm doing, I'm so silly!". Weird huh? I figure it's better to encourage it than not. I recently re-discoverd Planet Earth (2006), a 11-episode nature documentary commissioned by the BBC. Yes it's a documentary. But let me tell you it is one amazing, moving, heartening and maddening documentary. I'm adding it as a Perflix because, well because I can! But really, it deserves this great place in history and your life will not be complete until you watch the original series with David Attenborough narrating.
I wonder what 29 and 30 will be?
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Perflix of the Day

It has been awhile since I've posted anything, mostly because I've discovered House of Cards and have been squeezing in episodes whenever I can, largely at the expense of writing and watching movies.  So yeah, if you haven't picked up on House of Cards yet you are totally missing out.  I daresay it is one of the best dramas ever, rivaling The Sopranos in my opinion.  Breaking Bad is probably first for me, with House of Cards and Sopranos one notch below.  [If you haven't seen the "One Minute" parking lot assassination attempt or the "What's My Name" episodes of Breaking Bad, you should stop what you're doing and watch them right now!]  Anyway back to House of Cards. This political drama puts Scandal, Homeland and The Americans - all very good TV - to shame.  Kevin Spacey is perfection as politician Frank Underwood who is like a shark - ruthless, relentless, unfeeling, remorseless, fearless.  He is the terminator of the US Congress and later the White House.  Kyle Reese's plea to Sarah Connor in The Terminator could have easily applied to Underwood:  "Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."  Underwood will literally stop at nothing to get what he wants, which is ultimately the Presidency.  Robin Wright, perhaps most famously known for her role as Jenny in Forrest Gump, is brilliant as Frank's beautiful and sophisticated, but equally ruthless, wife Claire.  Put this on your must-see list today!



Blue Jasmine (2013) is overrated.  If something is acclaimed by critics and gets awards and nominations but get's mediocre polling from the audience (both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb had it at 78% favorable) there is obviously something else at play (i.e., insular Hollywood).  Woody Allen movies make me feel nothing.  I admit I haven't seen them all, but honestly I'd have to keep a record because they are so unmemorable.  I vaguely remember liking Vicky Cristina Barcelona but looking over his bio I don't have any immediate recall of any other of his films.  I think I'm a reasonable guy, so I'd say this is a Bad Sign.  My advice - skip it.



Moon (2009) is good!  Not great but I'd say give it a chance.  Starring Sam Rockwell (Choke) and with Kevin Spacey providing the voice for his robotic assistant, Moon is a very interesting psychological thriller and social commentary.  I have a science fiction lean to me and I really liked the plot.  The execution probably could have been done better.  The screenplay could've moved things along a bit quicker and shown more of a conflict with the corporate satan that is using and abusing Rockwell's character(s) for profit.  If they would've put more money into this in terms of screenplay and cast it could've been a Big Movie on the order of Prometheus.



I would put Man of Steel (2013) in your queue and watch it before the '14 summer blockbusters come out. Having seen the previews I was stoked to watch it but came away disappointed.  It started strong with the backstory but then from the halfway mark forward devolved into an endless city-wrecking battle with General Zod.



That's all for now.  Glad to be back! (Now off to watch more House of Cards…)

  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Perflix of the Day

Ah Spring Break.  Makes you think of babes, on beaches, with beers?  Well, here in Oregon we do spring a little differently.  It started out well enough with Monday being a flawless spring day.  A flowers were blooming birds were chirping kind of day. Thusly (seemingly along with every other family in Oregon and Southwest Washington) was I required to accompany my wife and kids to the Oregon Zoo, which I understand to be a "good" zoo, though to me that seems like an oxymoron.  (When a Polar Bear is doing a strange rhythmic 12 step dance routine over an over again, wagging his head and doing the moon-walk, something is not right.  And to see 19 foot tall giraffes awkwardly splaying their legs in order to eat green grass instead of hay out of cage - to a 4 year old a thrill, to me  another example of the awfulness of humans.  You would think everyone that has been to a zoo would be forever imprinted with the idea that we need to protect their habitats in the wild, and yet the relentless destruction continues unabated.)

And yet I digress.  So, Spring Break started out fine but then devolved into a week of torrential rains with a few hours of sunshine here and there.  My pre-K son Colin and I took advantage of every ray of it, but on the days where it rained all day long (there are many days like that here - it's a temperate rainforest; it has been reported that there were 400-foot Douglas Firs here when settlers first arrived…my house may be made of one of them) we sought indoor activities such as the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and a couple movies - The Lego Movie and Muppets Most Wanted.

I had heard good things about The Lego Movie but found it to be break-neck paced and too fast-moving, especially for kids.  It felt like a video game.  I didn't really feel like I could get a good look at the animation and came away feeling disappointed.  The production quality was really good, rich, and I like the way the movie looked, but it sailed along so fast I felt like I missed a lot.  The story was pretty predictable (I fell asleep several times and not because of sleep deprivation this time) and Will Farrell was great at the end.  I would say go see it in 3D, but from the bits and pieces I've seen of Frozen, I'd say see Frozen first.  Last thing on Lego - Elizabeth Banks gives voice to Wild Style, the main character Emmett's love interest.  I went back and looked at her bio and hadn't even recognized her as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games - thought that was interesting and that I'd pass that along.  Loved the Hunger Games book series even though I found the writing to be appallingly sophomoric.  I mean, I'm no novelist, but wow - maybe I should be.

If given the choice between Muppets Most Wanted and Frozen, I would also say see Frozen first.  I saw a bit of Frozen in the dentist office and the last 30 minutes of it at my mother's house.  From what I saw it was produced in a style similar to Tangled (which, honest to God, I absolutely love and believe is one of the best animated films of all time).  I don't think the story was as moving as that of Rapunzel's in Tangled, but from what I saw it looked good.

Muppets Most Wanted was better and more fun than the Lego Movie.  Both of these you could probably wait to watch at home though the 3D is fun for Lego.  Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are perfect for their Muppets roles, Gervais humorous as the Muppets' deceitful world tour agent, and Fey is hilarious as the warden of a Siberian gulag (yes, you heard that right).  Embarrassingly, it took me a minute to place her - I guess because of the accent and costume.

I guess I'd say all three of these are worth seeing in the theater (if you can even still catch Frozen).  Colin, who will be 5 end of May, liked Frozen the best, Muppets second, Lego last.

A little late to the game with these reviews I know, but I hope you find them useful.

*** No new Perflix to report, though I was remembering that I really, really liked Youth in Revolt (2009) which stars Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad, Juno).  Need to watch it again to make a determination if it goes on THE LIST, but you should definitely see it - in fact this may be the only useful information you get out of me here tonight.  Enjoy!
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech