December 24th, 2018 (Christmas Eve edition)

I started Adrift and having completed it, here is my review.   I was intrigued by the film and the premise given that it was a true story.   Shailene Woodley has returned, and also produced this film.   The story has been told before, notably recently with Robert Redford in All is Lost.   The difference in this film is the love story that begins it.   The film moves around in timeline starting with the opening of Shailene in the hull of the yacht that has been through a horrifying storm in the Pacific.   Flashback then occurs to see Shailene arrive in Tahiti and make a Customs declaration that shows a woman just drifting through life as it comes to her.   She meets Richard (Sam Claflin) an older more seasoned sailor who owns his own boat, and they have a whirlwind romance.   Off they sail long distance from Tahiti towards San Diego (her hometown) at the behest of an English  couple who owns a large boat and wants it taken back there.   They have known Richard from before.    He asks Shailene to join him in the crossing.   The rest is fairly predictable and shows the beauty and perils of life on the ocean.   It is a story of resilience and survival and using your wits and instincts to get through an unimaginable ordeal.   This is Woodley’s film and she carries it well.   I liked the performance, and see that much of it was filmed on the open ocean (and not in controlled sets and environments.    This makes the challenge and continuity more difficult getting this film created.   In the end, it is worth a viewing.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I have already reviewed the new Grinch film, but every year I watch my favourite Christmas film, and that’s A Christmas Story.  This classic film is set in “Indiana” although the house is located in Cleveland.

The movie, which I may wrongfully assume everyone has seen, focuses on Ralphie Parker and his life with his family; Mom (Milinda Dillon – Close Encounters), Darren McGavin (Night Stalker) and little brother Randy.    Ralphie is played by Peter Billingsley and he with the voiceover of the story’s author (Jean Shepard) capture the life and times of a young boy in the 40s.   There is no TV, just radio.   Ralphie’s greatest desire for Christmas is the official Red Rider multiple shot BB gun.   His Mother and Teacher have put obstacles in his path to success by proclaiming “you’ll shoot your eye out!”.   The story progresses from one scene to another of the family getting through until Christmas.   From buying the tree, shopping, attending school and dressing for school to dealing with the school bullies.   It has many memorable scenes and Darren McGavin is excellent as the Dad.   From his battles with the furnace, to the neighbor’s dogs.   He is priceless.   Much like Shawshank Redemption, this movie gained momentum and viewers on the small screen.   Released in 1983, it was not a great success, but later TBS made it a staple and people began to watch and appreciate.   It remains a classic for me, and scenes make me laugh each and every time.    It prepares me for the holidays and ushers in the Christmas season.

Finally I rented Rampage for laughs just to see what they have done, and the creatures that they have created.   Well suffice it to say that I am glad that I didn’t spend money to go see this.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays an ex-military guy who eventually waged war on poachers and then became an expert with apes.    He helped raise an albino gorilla that was not killed by poachers that he rescued.  The ape is able to sign and communicate with Johnson.   Cue the corporate bad guys who are working to use CRISPR to militarize DNA editing (splicing).   They are creating super-animals that can be controlled and used for whatever reason.   Only the experiment goes wrong and a wolf, alligator and the white gorilla ar all infected and grow and become more aggressive.   They are very tough to kill, as they move towards Chicago for a reason that is muddled at best.  But there is the storyline.   There are some decent effects, but nothing ground-breaking.   The animals themselves with the genetic modifications are scary – and do things like crawl up large skyscrapers vertically that are just too much to believe.   So see this at your own discretion and peril.   There are better ways to spend your hard-earned movie dollar!

Merry Christmas to one and all, with a day filled with friends, family, laughter and smiles.   Hope those good feelings extend into the New Year for a marvelous 2019!   Hopefully a trip to the movie theatre will bring you a movie to remember and talk about and reflect upon positively.   TIFF Lightbox in Toronto is having a Steven Spielberg festival with many of his films, including Jaws, ET, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Munich, Amistad and others.   I hope to catch a few myself.   On the big screen is where these movies belong.    Cheers!!

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