Friday, October 26, 2012

Boot Camp (2007)

Number Rolled: 84
Movie Name/Year: Boot Camp (2007)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Director: Christian Duguay
Writer: Agatha Dominik, John Cox
Actors: Mila Kunis, Gregory Smith, Peter Stormare, Regine Nehy, Christopher Jacot, Tygh Runyan, Colleen Rennison, Barbara Gates Wilson, Lexie Huber

“Boot Camp” was an unexpectedly amazing thriller, however disturbing. A few troubled teens finding their way into a boot camp on an isolated island with no hope of escape sounds like the beginning of “Lost, the Second Time.” Which is why I had it sitting in my instant queue for nearly a year without ever giving it a chance. Its time was up when I rolled an 84.

Mila Kunis is a cute little actress, but I’ve only ever seen her in “That 70s Show” and heard her through the voice of Meg on “Family Guy.” I wasn’t expecting to see much when I found out she was the star in this thriller, but she more than pulled it off. She was natural, reacting like I would expect most troubled teens in the characters situation to react.

The movie delves into a situation where the teens are pulled out of their natural lives and thrown into a place where they have no say, no identity and no choice… in anything. All the while we are shown memories of the situations that got people put in the camp in the first place, the reasons why these children were labeled “bad.” People with a weak stomach might want to avoid the unrated version since there are scenes involving rape.

Sophie, Mila Kunis’ character, is shipped off to a boot camp after butting heads with her step-father and undergoes more and more abuse as time goes on. The more she pushes against the system, the more beat down she gets. Meanwhile, back at home, her boyfriend Ben (played by Gregory Smith) follows his instinct in believing something’s wrong. He does everything imaginable to free her from hell.

As much as I love a good love story, I think it was wholly unnecessary here. The exact same story could have been told if Ben had been a brother or cousin. Let’s face it though, Hollywood knows the deal: sex sells.

On top of that the majority of it, save for the love story, is based around truth. A thriller is always scarier when you know it has, or could have, happened somewhere for real.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rookie of the Year (1993)

Number Rolled: 3
Movie Name/Year: Rookie of the Year (1993)
Genre: Children and Family
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: PG
Director: Daniel Stern
Writer: Sam Harper
Actors: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Daniel Stern, Dan Hedaya, Amy Morton, Albert Hall, Bruce Altman, Eddie Bracken, Robert Hy Gorman, Patrick LaBrecque, Kristie Davis, Tyler Ann Carroll, Tom Milanovich, Ross Lehman

Rookie of the Year was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Of course, after I watched it, whenever I got hurt in little league I expected to be able to do wicked cool stuff afterward. I wasn’t bad to begin with… but still.

What little kid doesn’t pretend to be big? Little girls putting on their mother’s make-up and high heels then pretending to be famous. Little boys pretending to be fire-fighters or baseball players (feminists please don’t drop notes in my box about the sexist generalization, relax, it’s just an example). And here comes a movie about a young boy whose arm heals wrong and allows him to become what he was pretending to be.

Quite frankly, I like the message of it. That whole “you can do anything with your life” thing that I don’t think children get a lot of anymore. The world we live in today prevents a child from really feeling like they have as many choices as I believed I had as a kid. I think it might just be my perspective on it, mom always said I was a little jaded.

None-the-less, Rookie of the Year is a fun movie. It’s got a lot of that “this is a sports story with an underdog so you know what’s going to happen” but it does it with style. And, Thomas Ian Nicholas? Definitely my favorite child star of the 90’s. Wish I saw more of him now.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Princess (1995)

Number Rolled: 33
Movie Name/Year: A Little Princess (1995)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: G
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Writer: Frances Hodgson Burnett, Richard LaGravenese, Elizabeth Chandler
Actors: Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham, Rusty Schwimmer, Arthur Malet, Vanessa Lee Chester, Heather DeLoach, Rachael Bella, Camilla Belle, Kelsey Mulrooney

I first saw this movie not too long after it came out. I had some health issues when I was young and couldn’t go out much – so my mother used to buy all the VHS tapes she could and I would watch movies. This became a favorite of mine.

The main character in this movie is a young girl who loses her father and disappears into her rich imagination in order to help her try and keep her spirits up. I related instantly to the character and watching it now, I find I still do. When life gets bad, I always have my fantasy world to fall back on; my imagination to see me through. I get that from my Uncle, the father figure that actually stuck around. Much like him, I’ll never REALLY grow up. 

Keep in mind, before you decide to watch this movie that it IS a tearjerker. Netflix certainly got that right. No movie makes me cry quite as much as this one does. I don’t mean a tear here or there either. I mean snot pouring out of my nose, having to turn the sound up higher because I can’t hear it over my sobbing, type of crying. If you find yourself relating to the main character – it WILL happen.

Overall Opinion – 5/5