Monday, January 11, 2016

Twilight Years, Movie Reviews

Now that the holidays are over we can officially start out the New Year with a big bang, whatever that means.  Traditionally we look at the old year with the attitude that we are glad it is over or we are glad we had such a great year, so now what do we do for an encore.  In my selling days I would use the last two weeks of the year to summarize everything I had done, determining what my sales were and how much I wanted to increase them in this New Year.  I never set income goals but would set an increase the sales goals by a certain percentage, and then the income would take care of itself.  It always worked and so that was a system that worked well for me.  New Year’s resolutions went out a long time ago for me, since they just did not seem to resonate with me.  With my age now it would appear that I am in my twilight years of life(based on the average life in the USA of 76 and I am now 77) so I still set goals but maybe they are a little different.  Yes, I am still trying to sell something out there in the market place so I can always re-set those goals.  Yes, I am still competing as a triathlete in the 75-79 age group so I will re-set those goals for 2016.  Just at the end of the 2015 triathlon season  in September I completed my current tally of triathlons completed with 371.  So, I have re-set the goal for completed triathlons to 400 by the time I celebrate my 80th birthday in 2018.  Our business of producing multi-sport events has also seen some major changes and the competition has grown considerably, so tight business management and elimination of events that lose money has to be the order of the day. During the middle of 2015 I started reading Jesus Calling on a daily basis.  So, for 2016 I agreed that my goal of reading this daily,and doing everything I can to implement the recommendations would be a daily habit for me.  Now to get on with it and enjoy my life as I approach number 78 on December 16th.

Movie Reviews:  (Please note that the number of movies being reviewed would seem like that is all I do, but this represents movies seen since the last blog post in November and there were some so-called holiday’s and bad weather days that made movie going the thing to do!!)

“The Big Short”, ****,  After four outsiders played by Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, see what big banks, the media and the government refuse to see--the possible global collapse of the economy--they have an idea:  The Big Short.  Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking. Very entertaining, but a little confusing if you don’t understand some of the financial lingo. Rated R for pervasive language and some sexuality/nudity.  

“Concussion” ****, This is a true story about the research concerning head injuries in football.  Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu(played by Will Smith) discovers neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease.  Omalu names the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy and publishes his findings in a medical journal.  As other athletes are diagnosed with this disorder Omalu embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football related head trauma.  There is also a back story shared here concerning the National Football League and its’ effort to sweep these findings under the table.  Excellent movie whether you like football or not.  Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images and language. 

“Creed”, **, A form of the continuation of the Rocky movies made popular by Sylvester Stallone, but concerns the son of the big Rocky rival, Apollo Creed.  Of course the son is a boxer and decides to follow in his fathers footsteps into American professional boxing.  He searches out Rocky Balboa to train him for his first fight.  In my opinion this movie does not compare with any of the Rocky movies and felt like they were just groping around for something to do that proves it is a good fight movie.  I thought Michael B. Jordan was only a mediocre actor and the sequel has a long way to go!! The first scenes were only fair and Jordan was unbelievable, Rated PG-13 for violence language and some sensuality.  

“The Hunger Games”, ***,  While this does not even compare to the initial movie Jennifer Lawrence was excellent.  The story really turns into a political exercise of who has the power and who will keep it.  Of course the use of Lawrence’s character in saving the day is a given.  Film was well done, just a little boring!!  Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.  

“In the Heart of the Sea”, ***,  A true story of sorts about whaling in the high seas on the ship Essex.  The story is told by the only survivor still alive and also provides the back drop and inspiration for the story of “Moby Dick”!  Rob Howard directs and Chris Hernsworth is the whaler who takes a 1st Officer position as opposed to the Captains job(he has been promised) on the Essex, and we see the tremendous contrast between an experienced 1st Officer and inexperienced Captain.  Lots of action and great sea scenes.  Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material.  

“Spectre”, ****,  Another great James Bond movie, with all the typical entertainment, exciting opening scene, good looking women, great acting by Daniel Craig as Bond, and a believable villain in Christoph Waltz.  Of course it is bad versus evil and Bond must get it all straightened out, which he does.  Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language. 

“My All American”, ****, This is a true college football story about a very under size football player that had way more heart and guts than most physically gifted football players.  Even though he was small he was fast and tough.  He gained the attention of the University of Texas great football coach Darrell Royal and was offered a scholarship to play football.  He was not only a hard working athlete but also a very Christian person and extremely honest.  He guided the Longhorns to some close victories and then in his senior year after receiving a serious injury was diagnosed with a form of cancer.  Well done movie and true story, not just about football but about life!  Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief partial nudity.  

“Woodlawn”, ****, Another true football story but also lots of real life drama concerning the de-segegration days in 1973.  While it uses the local high school(Woodlawn) in Birmingham, AL as the back drop of the story, it also proves how true faith and christianity can bind everyone together in their goals, on and off the field.  Some very good acting with no known stars.  A feel good movie.  Rated PG for thematic elements including some racial tension/violence.

“Point Break”, ****, A great action movie about a gang of thieves that use their extreme sporting activities as their cover up in committing crimes.  An interesting concept and the acting is very good.  Extreme athlete Johnny Utah is picked to be trained by the FBI to infiltrate the extreme athletes team.  Interesting concept and very breath taking scenes.  Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material.

“Sisters”,0,  Please do not waste you money on this movie.  Don’t even watch it at home for free.  I just had a void in things to do and there was lots of snow on the ground.  This is a useless story about two grown spoiled sisters who do the most stupid things anyone could image to keep their parents from selling their family home. Rated:  (Stupid), R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and for drug use.  

“Revenant”, *****,  This is a great movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio as legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass in the 1800’s.  The story revolves around the life of the outdoorsman at that time and the hardships that they faced.  Glass is injured by a giant grizzly bear and that sets the stage for the hardships he faced surviving by himself and also provided the back drop for his motivation to find his way and survive his ordeal.  His survival skills and determination got him through, but the scenery and action is unbelievable. There is a villain who sparks the desire in Glass to return to the camp.  So, be prepared for a long journey and long movie!  Rated R for strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity.  

EA, SH.........:)!



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