Jurassic World Movie Review with Family and Age Appropriate Hints

Jurassic World is a fun summer blockbuster, the kind worth coming in out of the heat to see and most certainly the kind you do NOT overthink. I had a good time with my family. I’m glad we got popcorn, fizzy sodas, and had middle-of-the-room reclining seats. The dino battle at the end is pretty epic and anyone who has seen classic Godzilla might even feel nostalgia for the clear tribute. That said, here’s the list of Stupid Truth. 1) It never quite loses the feeling that it’s part commercial, part trailer. It repeatedly advertises Coke, Pandora Jewelry, and Starbucks, not to mention the likely theme park coming attractions. 2) Bryce Dallas Howard is either horribly cast or the screenplay, already not very good, just particularly got more rotten for her lines. She irritates like dino claws on glass. 3) Speaking of her, the costuming choice (white silk and heels) was absurd. Audiences will more readily believe genetically modified dinosaurs are real before they believe she ran all through that island without twisting an ankle. It’s ridiculous. 4) And more of her- the subplot between her Chris Pratt is distracting and contrived. Spielberg should know better, unless he’s becoming the real dinosaur. 5) People who take 3 year olds into this movie are idiots. It’s borderline for kids under 10 and especially if they are sensitive. 6) I missed Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. See if if you like monster movies, need something that appeals to multiple ages, or don’t want entertainment that makes you think too hard in the summer heat. If you miss it, you won’t miss it.

Photo Taken on the Baldwin Rails-to-Trails bike path, Jacksonville, Florida

Photo Taken on the Baldwin Rails-to-Trails bike path, Jacksonville, Florida

Cake Movie Review

My favorite thing about Cake is that it doesn’t tell the story of an event; it tells the story of the aftermath, the less visible time where real living happens. This is a fascination of mine lately, especially when it comes to story telling, because its more challenging to tell a story without relying on the Thing That Happened. We never see her Accident or How She Got Her Scars. We do find out how…but it’s slowly, over time, after the effects of draining pain and loss have wasted a once beautiful person and turned her into a lacerating, bitter, utterly struggling soul. She’s an unattractive, difficult character who repulses and rejects everyone around her but a housemaid and yet, there’s an irresistible urge to root for her, to will her to discover some self-compassion and a foothold in Feeling Better. Cake is Jennifer Aniston like you’ve never seen her and it’s a great performance. Cake is for movie-goers who don’t want a story teller to do all the work for them, for those who’ve felt lost in the overwhelming tide of pain and grief and wondered how they can find their way back. ‪#‎moviereview‬

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Photo taken at Olio Restaurant on E. Bay St. Or as one instagrammer said, "Perhaps where Ebay gets their Dry Goods"

Photo taken at Olio Restaurant on E. Bay St. Or as one instagrammer said, “Perhaps where Ebay gets their Dry Goods”

Wild Movie Review

As soon as the end credits started for Wild, I wanted to turn around and see it again. Yes, I dream of the woods and my own hike…but even one is not a hiker, this is a fantastic screen adaption of the best selling book. Breaking the pattern of, “the book is always better”, this time, it was only slightly more detailed. Cheryl Strayed tells her story of a lost girl who hikes her way found, a burdened Pilgrim trying to make progress on the path back to herself. I agree with the reviews that Reece should get an Oscar nod but let’s please, please, please not forget the director. It’s the flashbacks that are breathlessly, expertly successful: true glimpses of insight that inform yet almost frustrate, not lingering long enough to grab a fist-full of time travel and hold it. These sudden darts of memory act as sewing needle conjoining the layers of story, of mother and daughter, of past and present, to the rhythm of her footfalls on the trail. Those steps are painful: she bleeds, she screams…. and inspiring: she climbs an emotional mountain and fights to overcome her demons. Fair warning: she got lost enough to require a 1000 mile hike back to herself honestly and those scenes are graphic and ugly. There are also a ton of F-bombs. Both elements are true to the grit of the story but will not be appreciated if that isn’t your cuppa. On the other hand, if you can dig bearing witness to the ugly so that you better understand the triumph, this is a stand-out film, worth the price of admission, even more than once. ‪#‎moviereview‬

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One of our great century old oaks

One of our great century old oaks

Project Almanac Movie Review

Project Almanac felt like all the moments when I’m standing in my kitchen, trying to make enough food to feed insatiable teenagers, while they whoop and laugh and posture and tell the stories of their time, while they don’t mind that Mom is there too- in fact, they kind of like it- and they’re just happy and smart and beautiful, young and still so free. It’s a fun glimpse into millennial culture; it’s an intelligent sci-fi-in-the-present story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and never sinks down into stupid level humor. There are no special cgi effects, no Hollywood celebrities, not even any recognizable faces. It looks like big kids in almost adult bodies conducting cool science experiments in the basement and remembering that when they win, to make sure they first address the bullies and the pressures on their plates. It’s the smart kids as the heroes. If you have creative teens like mine, part of a lego-culture growing up to make Engineering the Career To Have, Project Almanac will seem like a celebration of their generation, along with enough of the Voyagers, Buck Rodgers, and Ghostwriter flavor to make parents who remember, glad. And it was a perfect option for an afternoon when a certain 14 year old asked, “Hey Mom, wanna go to the movies today?” ‪#‎moviereview‬

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Ponte Vedra Beach is a guaranteed peace place, every season of the year.

Ponte Vedra Beach is a guaranteed peace place, every season of the year.

Imitation Game Movie Review

One Spark 2014

What does it really mean to be who you are? If you are changed, because some external force determined that you should, what is the cost? How much can be taken before the essence of your potential would no longer exist? Those are the haunting final questions that the Imitation Game left me with, the tragedy of a brilliant soul who was tortured and discarded and ultimately destroyed, only after he was no longer useful. Of course, the story focuses on Alan Turing and the enigma code breaking team employed by the British government to change the war. That story was told before, in 2001 with Kate Winslet, and it completely ignored Turing. So did the British government, when Turing was later investigated and shamed, abandoned by the very country he saved. Benedict Cumberbatch dissolves into Turing and Kiera does well, she doesn’t tremble or giggle too much. But I left the theater feeling sad; sad enough to not write a review for 2 weeks, sad that humanity tries to choose the parts of people we like the best, and sometimes negates the importance of that very part we want to cast aside. Who are we to do that? If someone is not who they are, they can not do the things that they do. I’m still pondering that relation. I’m typing this on a computer made possible because Turing *was*. I hope his soul is finally at rest. ‪#‎moviereview‬

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One Spark 2014

This is a cool place! Jacksonville at One Spark 2014

Still Alice Movie Review

I saw Still Alice a week ago, in the nick of time before Oscar night because it took forever and a day to get to Jacksonville, instead of, “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”. It’s taken a week for me to find some words to describe it well enough to call the paragraph a review. Still Alice is devastating, a horror film for grown-ups because it centers upon something that truly frightens with plausible reality: losing ourselves to Alzheimer’s Disease. As far as films go, and performances, this is a liquid looking-glass portrayal, an image so translucent of what it must be like that the viewer is left breathless. Somehow, we are inside her. We are able to see and feel the sudden drop of vacant holes in her ability to Think and Know and Find. The process is terrifying. When the “something scary is about to happen” music plays, when Alice in her familiar home and can’t find her way to the bathroom, we too feel the spine tingling fear and suspense of the enemy that’s gaining ground. Alice is a physically healthy woman, still young, who does what she can to retain personal empowerment. There’s a scene where the Then and the Now are brilliantly portrayed and it’s piercing to realize how much degeneration has slowly taken place. If you see it, you’ll understand why there wasn’t a single other possibility for Best Actress this year. You’ll understand more about the human aspect of the disease than any fact sheet or documentary could show. You’ll get your money’s worth for the price of the movie and it’s not over doing to suggest you might live more for today as well. Side note on theaters: we saw this at the AMC, which now has real food, a “design your own” coke wall of machines, and a full bar, allowing us to sip an Old Fashioned from high backed reclining theater seats. Nice touch. ‪#‎moviereview‬

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April in Jacksonville Beach. Hot sun and sand, cold water.

April in Jacksonville Beach. Hot sun and sand, cold water.

Interstellar Movie Review

Dear Madeleine, I saw Interstellar today and I think you would love what the kids did with your Tesseract. The actual human discovery process of a wrinkle in time has probably never been quite so realistic, so believable, or so poignant. Remembering that Christopher Nolan is the same director who left his audiences gasping from the spinning top ending of Inception creates fantastic suspense and breathless dread. I won’t spoil his choice to repeat that stunt or not. You’d love Murph- she’s your Meg, only better. Girls who love science have a great character there. I got so completely lost within the story that I completely lost track of time and, until travel into wormholes and fifth dimensions is real, the power of story and great writing will simply have to do. Love, Tia ‪#‎moviereviews‬

P.S- for those interested- completely clean movie, intense, inspiring, no wordie-dirties, and more great acting than one movie usually contains.

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Memorial Park in Riverside, WWI Commemoration

Memorial Park in Riverside, WWI Commemoration