The Year In Review! Movies

I don’t go out to the movies very often, but when I do, I make sure it’s awesome.

This year, I actually only went twice. The first time was at the beginning of the year to see Warm Bodies. I had gotten free advanced preview tickets from a friend of mine and took my two sisters with me. I’d read the book first, and then saw the movie. While they were both different, I loved them both. The movie was fun and definitely geared towards teens whereas the book was for adults. I did prefer the end of the book more, though, but I guess it would have been hard to pull off on the big screen. At least, in a way that made sense. You can see my review of it here.



Every Thanksgiving my family eats dinner together and then goes to see a movie. This year, despite my wanting to see Thor, my family chose Frozen, and I’m glad they did. I’ve reviewed it here. I liked it so much I went and bought the soundtrack the next day and have all of the songs memorized already! My little sister even got me a Frozen poster for Christmas. Haha, grow up? Never! But it really is a great movie and a great way to end the year. Disney is going to have a hard time topping this one, at least in my books.

Movie Review: Frozen

Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. From the outside Anna’s sister, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret-she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It’s a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can’t stop. She fears she’s becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her. 

Part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition has been – for as long as I can remember – to eat dinner and then go see a movie at the theaters. This year, despite my wanting to see Thor II, my family chose Frozen. I am incredibly grateful that they did, because this movie could very well have just usurped every other Disney movie in my heart.

Not only is the animation stunning, but the soundtrack is brilliant from the opening scene to the close. And the story. Five minutes into the film and already I was crying. So emotional and beautiful, and even though there are moments when everyone watching is thinking one thing, Disney twists the usual plot points around and surprises us.


Moving on. So why, aside from the animation and the soundtrack did I love the movie as much as I did? The story. It’s simply beautiful. I connected with Anna so much because of her free spirit and her slightly clumsy and silly behavior. And I wanted her to be happy. I wanted Elsa to be happy, too. When I went into the movie and the film started, I thought, “Great. Another movie where one sister turns evil or is jealous of the other.” But that doesn’t happen. No. Elsa cares for Anna and she’s never evil. Even though she’s basically the Snow Queen, she is never an evil character, despite some people equating snow and ice with evil and heartlessness. Not Elsa. Even in the moments when it seems like she could become a heartless queen, she doesn’t.

And then there’s the part about Anna needing “true love” to save her from the ice in her heart. I know what you’re thinking. I thought it too. “Oh, true love’s first kiss. Yup. Who didn’t see this one coming.” Right? Well, Anna thinks that too, and so she rushes back to get her true love’s kiss.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT IT WAS THAT SAVED HER!!!!!! The “true love” that they meant in this case was the love Anna had for her sister, Elsa. When Anna throws herself in front of Elsa to save her from certain death, even at the expense of her own life, that is the love that breaks the spell on Anna.

I cheered so loud.


They took the princess stereotypes and turned them on their heads for this movie, and for that I am grateful. It wasn’t a man that needed to save Anna. Anna saved herself. And how? By coming to the aide of her sister when her sister needed her the most.

Family. FAMILY.

Again, Disney. BRA.VO. A standing ovation for this one.

Oh and I also point out that the evil character in this film is a man, and not just any man, but a Prince. “Prince Charming” wasn’t so charming at all in this movie, but the ordinary, hard-working laborer was.

God. The more I think about it, the more I adore this film. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it over and over and over.

Here. Watch the music video for “Let It Go.”

Movie Review: This Is What Love In Action Looks Like

This is a short but well paced documentary that looks at the ex-gay group Love In Action that has an in house program for teenagers called Refuge. When a young, gay teen is sent there against his will by his parents, he blogs about it and what happens next is nothing short of outstanding. Considering the time period, social media was really just taking off. The boy, Zach, found that his friends spread the word about what was happening to him and very soon a group of people stood outside the Refuge for the entire 8 weeks he was there, trying to be “converted” to a straight teen.

The documentary focuses not just on Zach and his story, but the story of other men who went through this experience and came out with serious after effects that took years to resolve. It shows just how dangerous it can be when others take your life into their hands.

One of the people interviewed surprised me. It was the man who was a director of the Refuge, and because of the protesting, he had a change of heart. By the time the Refuge was shut down, he changed gears and began to welcome gay members into his church. This change of heart just shows how much of an impact one person can have. Because of Zach a light was shined on the Refuge and what they were doing, and as a result, lives were changed and possibly saved.

I highly recommend this documentary. It can opens viewers eyes to the damage done to teenagers who undergo this kind of “treatment,” often at the consent of their parents.

Movie Review: The Curiosity of Chance

Sometimes Netflix really hits the nail on the head when it comes to recommending movies for me, and sometimes it really misses. In the case of The Curiosity of Chance, it was a complete hit! I wasn’t sure how I would like it at first, but in the end, I adored the film.

Tired of dealing with the homophobic school bully, out-of-the-closet teen Chance Marquis (Tad Hilgenbrinck) enlists two disparate friends — a flashy drag queen and the hunky school jock — to help him crush his tormentor in this offbeat comedy set in the 1980s.
The film is foreign, taking place and filmed in Belgian, but it is in English, so for those who steer clear of foreign films, please, don’t miss this one. It’s quirky, fun, humorous, with a side of serious at times.
Chance is a great character. Though it’s the 1980s, he knows who he is and doesn’t seem to care what others think. He’s going to do what he wants, dress how he wants, and forget everyone else. When he enters his international high school, he befriends the strange camerman and a girl with an attitude. The popular football (soccer) star has it out for him, though, and things get worse when he’s assigned to write an article about the team.
He finds another friend, though hesitant at first, in his neighbor, Levi, whom I adored. Though Levi turns from him for a while, he does come back after Chance’s words ring true.
The film is about self-discovery, expression, and acceptance. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re looking for a fun movie with a positive – and maybe surprising (though I was hoping for it!) outcome.

Movie Review: The Sensei

Ever rent a movie expecting one thing, and get something totally different? A movie that you perhaps had low expectations for that surpassed your initial thoughts and blew you out of the water? The Sensei is one such movie.

From Netflix: After punks at school hand him a savage beating, gay teen McClain Evans (Michael O’Laskey II) secretly begins martial arts training with Karen O’Neil (director Diana Lee Inosanto), a woman who has her own axe to grind with the narrow-minded rural community. But as Evans learns to stand up to prejudice and hate, the boy and his sensei unleash a firestorm of controversy in their small Colorado town.

When I rented this DVD, my thought was precisely this: Oh, a gay karate kid movie, awesome! I loved Karate Kid in all of its incarnations, and I love movies with gay characters, so I thought it would be perfect. I figured it would be low budget but that didn’t bother me. When the film started, I thought it was going to be cheesy. But once an older McClain starts to tell the story and goes back eight years to how his life changed and essentially began, I was swept away.

Set primarily during 1985, the story is about gay teen McClain who is savagely between by town homophobes in the school locker room. He has been trying to get lessons from the local martial arts studio but is turned away. Enter the studio owner’s female family member who has been gone many years. After a plea from McClain’s mother, she agrees to teach him, to give him a fighting chance.

It’s not perfect. McClain is still tormented by bullies both young and old, and the sensei, Karen, has her own demons to confront. In one particularly hard scene, both Karen and McClain are bleeding from an attack and she shys away from him, not wanting to be touched. This is where the twist comes in.

At this point in history, the AIDs crisis is huge. It was considered a gay disease and many people thought they could catch it just from touching someone gay. Obviously today we know this is different, just as we know it can affect anyone and everyone.

This movie takes preconceived notions and stereotypes and throws most of them out the door. The end is so heartbreaking and beautiful it left me crying and speechless for several minutes. I was absolutely blown away.

I am so glad I thought so little of this film at first, because it showed me just how beautiful and surprising some things can be. It has gone from a one time chance rental to a movie I will be buying for my shelves. Trust me. Take the chance and rent this. You won’t regret it.

Movie Review: Warm Bodies

The new zombie film Warm Bodies isn’t officially out until February 1st, however, because my friend is a Stubs member at AMC, I was able to get free advance screening passes for this past Wednesday.

For those who haven’t heard of the film, it is based on the book of the same title by Isaac Marion. After a former student shared a trailer for the film, I knew I had to see it. I didn’t know it was a book. When I stumbled upon the book at the store, I bought it and devoured it in a night. It was fantastic! (See my review here.)

When my friend mentioned she had the tickets, I jumped at the chance and was able to bring my two sisters, who also enjoyed the film.

If you’ve read the book and are expecting it to be the same, stop. It’s very different. However, despite the differences, I thought the film was just as good as the book, just in a different way. I loved the portrayal of R, and while I was annoyed that the actress chosen for Nora was not black (like she is in the book), I thought the actress was decent in the role.

But it’s R that really shines. The actor that plays him is fantastic. There’s very little dialogue from him. At least, words that come out of his mouth. Most of what we hear from him comes from his thoughts. And let me tell you, between him and M, I was laughing a lot. The whole theater was.

The film is well done, too. When R starts to change, it is subtle at first, but if viewers pay attention, you can definitely see as he starts to speak a little more clearly, becomes a little less pale, and walks a little more like a human.

Any fan of zombie films should check it out. Yes, it’s a romance, but it’s also a comedy. Check it out when it comes to theaters on February 1st!

Avengers: In which I will ATTEMPT a review but… basically just spazz…

I finally saw the Avengers movie on Sunday. And then again on Monday.

It was amazing.

So amazing, in fact, it has taken over the top spot in my favorite movies. Yes, that’s right, Transformers, move over. Bumblebee, I still love you, but Hawkeye was just too amazing… too… HAWKEYE! for me to keep Transformers up there.

For those that haven’t seen it, why not?! There is so much humor in it. The one-lines are HILARIOUS. Thor is hysterical. The banter between Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America is incredible, and the fight between Thor and Hulk is just legendary.

And then you have Hawkeye being all incredible with his amazing bow and awesome arrows and SHOOTING OVER HIS SHOULDER WITHOUT LOOKING.

Have I mentioned I love Hawkeye?

And let’s not forget Black Widow. She’s kickass. I typically do not like female characters because of how they’re portrayed, but she was fantastic. I liked that she had a bit of a softer side when it came to Hawkeye, but at the same time was a strong, fierce woman. And she tricks Loki, the trickster god. What’s NOT to love about that?

If you do go, stay through the entire credits. The final scene is a riot, even if no words are spoken. And of course there is a teaser for a sequel in there. Can I say I want it right now? Because… I want it right now.

Okay, so we have Captain America, Thor, Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk… and Captain America 2, Thor 2, and Iron Man 3 in the works. Can I get a Hawkeye movie, please? 😀