Movies

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Featured Festival: Crestone Music Festival

With a population of 150 souls, Crestone, Colorado is more of a village than a town. In the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, far from any metropolitan area, it really is a hidden gem. Each year in August, however, the tiny town fills to the brim with excited festival goers.

Crestone Music Festival Photo by Lori Nagel of Sunflower Studios

Crestone Music Festival. Photo by Lori Nagel of Sunflower Studios.

The Crestone Music Festival is in its 15th year, and this event is much more than just a music festival. It is a three-day celebration of life. While music is at the heart of the festival, this is a family-affair with everything from global cuisine and microbrews to the Salida Circus and a drum workshop for kids. There’s a wood-chopping competition for those who want to embrace their inner mountain man or mountain woman, and a pie eating contest for those who want to embrace their inner child.

This festival is really about embracing life and living it to the fullest, and that’s what Crestone is all about too. There are around 30 spiritual centers in the area, and this is a place where many come to get reacquainted with themselves and the natural world.

The musical lineup for this year’s festival has a variety of sounds and styles represented including folk, bluegrass, country, funk and international. One of my personal favorites will be playing on Saturday, Shel from Fort Collins, Colorado. See the entire musical lineup here.

Shel

Shel, a sister act from Fort Collins, Colorado, has been blowing away audiences around the country.

Many festival goers choose to camp during the Crestone Music Festival and their website has some helpful tips on finding the right campground or other types of accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfasts. Let the festival help you plan your trip here.

I think this area is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful regions of Colorado. While in southwest Colorado be sure to stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park, just an hour from Crestone. These are the tallest dunes in North American and spectacular to behold.

 Crestone Music Festival

Crestone, Colorado

August 2-4, 2013

27 acts on 2 stages

Buy Tickets Here

Crest-Fest.org

For more information on Crestone, Colorado:  TownofCrestone.org

Crestone Music Festival

The Crestone Music Festival is a production of Crestone Performance, Inc., a 501 ©3 that brings performance arts an educational presentations from around the world to the rural San Luis Valley of Colorado. Programs foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and their arts, provide meaningful education and cultural experience for youth as well as stimulate the local economy. Learn more here.  

Win 2 tickets to the Oscar Party at The Kress

The Kress is rolling out the red carpet for YOU!

The Kress Cinema & Lounge is located in downtown Greeley, Colorado and it’s a HeidiTown favorite! This is a classy lounge with a well-appointed theater. They have live music in the bar area on the weekends and old and new movies nearly every night of the week. They also have a full lunch and dinner menu. It’s worth the trip to Greeley to check this place out! You can read my previous review of The Kress  HERE.

The Kress is throwing their annual Oscar Party on Sunday, February 27 at 5:30 p.m. The event includes a red carpet, appetizer buffet, Oscar ballot and cash prizes and the 83th Academy Awards on the big screen and the smaller televisions in the lounge. Tickets are $20 each.

You can win 2 tickets to the Oscar Party at The Kress by leaving me a comment here. Tell me which of the ten best picture nominees you think should win. If you haven’t seen any of the best picture nominees (and shame on you!) tell me your favorite movie of the past year.

A winner will be picked randomly on Thursday at 9 a.m. Good luck!

“Get Him to the Greek”

Jonah Hill and Russell Brand star in "Get Him to the Greek" a film from Universal Pictures.

Read my review of this new comedy by clicking here.   I do not apologize for loving this movie.   I laughed so hard I cried.

“Iron Man 2” – Does it live up to the hype?

Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko (aka Whiplash) in "Iron Man 2." This image released by Paramont Pictures.

Rated PG13

Directed by Jon Favreau

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 2.75/5

Word of Warning: Corny, and I’m not talking about the kind that comes on a cob and is delicious with barbecue.

I gave “Iron Man” a rating of 4/5, so that should tell my readers a lot about the sequel. “Iron Man 2″ fails to live up to the hype and to the original movie, yet it’s not a complete bust.

In this movie, Stark Industries has become a powerhouse. The entire world now knows Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is Iron Man and Stark is relishing his enormous popularity. In fact, he’s been elevated to a kind of rock star status, but with stardom comes the haters and Stark has several.

His first detractor is fellow arms developer Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). Hammer owns a rival company that manufactures weapons for the United State government, and he is working hard to catch up with Stark Industries new Iron Man technology. It seems Hammer will stop at nothing to reach the goal.

Stark’s other enemy seems more sinister, at least at first glance. Ivan Vanko is a tormented Russian with evil intentions towards Stark, but why? At first we don’t know, but as the back-story is slowly revealed we realize that Vanko is definitely up to no good.

The first “Iron Man” had a well-developed plot and surprisingly witty dialogue. This movie falls short on both accounts. The plot has Stark in danger, but he never really seems to be vulnerable to his enemies’ plans for his destruction. And although Sam Rockwell’s character has some hilarious lines, most of the dialogue seems more corny than clever.

Tony Stark’s assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), walks prettily in and out of scenes, but she’s like a cardboard character in a really nice dress. Scarlett Johansson is introduced in this movie as a knockout from Stark Enterprises’ legal department. There is little explanation as to why Johansson is involved in the story, and quite frankly, throughout most of the movies, she’s nothing more than eye-candy for those guys who love her big lips and endless curves.

This movie isn’t bad, but it just isn’t very good. The first “Iron Man” surprised me. I truly enjoyed it, but “Iron Man 2″ is a classic sequel – probably worth a matinee for those true fans, but don’t go to the theater with high expectations.

Opening on Mother’s Day

Babies are definitely popular these days, and now they have invaded the theater. You may be looking forward to “Iron Man 2,” but I promise your Mom would rather go to “Babies.”

This new documentary, directed by Thomas Balmés, follows four babies from around the world – San Francisco, Nambia, Tokyo, Mongolia – from birth to their first steps. The cultural differences will be apparent, but so will the similarities (I think that’s the point folks).

I haven’t seen it, and don’t plan to, but I can almost guarantee your mom would love to see “Babies” this Mother’s Day weekend.

Visit the official Web site HERE to view the trailer and find out where the film is playing.  

 

Disneynature’s “Oceans” – a review

Rated G

Directed by Jacque Cluzaud and Jacque Perrin

Narrated by Pierce Bronson

Heidi’s Illustrious Review: 4.5/5

Word of Warning: No warning. I think everyone, including children, should see this movie.

I have had a special bond with the ocean since childhood. In fact, I was born in a Southern Oregon hospital that is perched high on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific. The ocean is something I’ve always loved and respected, and I feel extremely lucky to have grown up along its shores.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to study oceans. In fact, while other children looked up to rock stars, football players or astronauts, my hero was a marine biologist who worked at the local interpretive center.

I now live 1200 miles from the  nearest ocean  and I didn’t become a marine biologist, but I never lost my awe and admiration for the sea. Over the years I’ve watched hundreds of documentaries about the ocean, so I was excited when I heard about Disney new film.

Disneynature released “Oceans” on April 22, Earth Day. Disneynature is an independent film label of Walt Disney Company with its headquarters in France. Its first film was “Earth” in 2009.  

Disneynature didn’t skimp on this production. The budget was 50 million euros, or 66 million dollars. The film explores five oceans, was shot in 50 different places and took over four years to film.

The quality of the film is breathtaking. The audience is transported to a world unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. If you’ve watched as many nature shows as I have, you’ve probably seen most of what is captures in this film, however, seeing it on big screen is a different kind of experience.

From diving birds to hermit crabs, to the exquisite blanket octopus and silvery swirling balls of sardines, “Oceans” is a true feast for the eyes, and leaves no ocean stone unturned. My only complaint with this 103-minute film is that I didn’t learn more. While it’s visually stunning, the narration seemed to lapse at times when I really wanted to know what I was seeing on the screen.

There is a subtle environmental message in “Oceans,” and while it’s not hard-hitting enough for some, I felt it was just about right. If this film beat people over the head with a message, many would leave the theater angered, feeling they’d just been attacked by another preachy eco-flick. I believe, if people care about a subject such as the ocean, the desire to protect that subject will follow, and I think “Oceans” will inspire that sort of concern in those who see it, especially children.

Despite a few scenes depicting the cycle of life – Orcas and sharks hunting seals – this is an ideal film for all ages. It won’t be in theater much longer, so plan accordingly.  

 

“Date Night” – Worth full price!

Steve Carell (The Office) and Tina Fey (30 Rock & Saturday Night Live) star in this clean comedy about a couple from the burbs who gets more than they bargained for on their "Date Night" to the City.

Rated PG13

Directed by Shawn Levy

Starring Steve Carell, Tiny Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson

Heidi Illustrious Rating: 4/5

Word of Warning: Good clean fun. Reminiscent of a comedy from the late 80s or early 90s, “Date Night” doesn’t rely on the type of “shock comedy” that has become so popular, making this one okay for the older kids, but best for a date night.

The Foster family lives an ordinary life in New Jersey. Phil (Steve Carell) is a tax attorney and Claire (Tina Fey) is a real estate agent. They have two kids, a nice house in the suburbs, and they have one date night per week that involves going to a local steakhouse and talking about their kids.

When he learns of a friend’s impending divorce, Phil decides he and Claire need to spice it up a bit, so he takes her on a special date night to the City. However, when the couple steals a table reservation that isn’t theirs, they get involved in a bit more excitement than either bargained for.

The storyline doesn’t make a lot of sense, but together Carell and Fey are comic genius. And despite the nonsensical nature of the plot, the two actors are truly believable as Phil and Claire Foster; neither comedian goes overboard in their portrayal of this average couple from the burbs. It’s the stuff that happens to Phil and Claire that make this a funny movie, and the dialogue between the two is very clever.    

The commercial for “Date Night” has been comparing it to “The Hangover,” but this is not a good comparison. Although both films are very funny, this one doesn’t rely on shock comedy, but rather dialogue, chemistry and physical comedy.

With the rise of such movies as “Hot Tub Time Machine“ and “The Hangover” I had started to believe Hollywood had lost the ability to make a straight up, old-fashion kind of comedy, but “Date Night” renews my confidence. Perhaps the menstruation jokes and toilet humor so popular of late, was just a fleeting trend? Probably not, but “Date Night” is a refreshing return to comedy that won’t make you squirm in your seat, but is still funny and relatable.

This movie isn’t groundbreaking, and they gave away many of the funniest scenes in the previews for “Date Night” but still, it will make you laugh. I think this movie is worth full price, and running time of only 88 minutes you can afford to get a babysitter for a couple hours and take your honey on a real movie date night. Just don’t steal anyone’s reservation.

**Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

“Clash of the Titans” – I’ll admit it, I was highly entertained

Sam Worthington as Perseus from Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' epic action adventure 'The Clash of the Titans,' distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Photo by Jay Maidment

Rated PG13

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Alexa Davalos, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 3.75/5

Word of Warning: It’s not going to cause you to burst a vessel in your brain from over thinking, but it’s an entertaining flick. This one was made to be 2D and quickly upgraded to 3D when they realized it was so popular. It wasn’t done well so don’t even bother to see it in 3D.

I’ll be honest. I review movies because I like to write about movies and I have a lot of opinions about all kinds of things, including movies. I don’t have a fancy film degree that gives me superior credence as a critic.

Often I go with my gut and my reviews are frequently influenced by my mood on the day I saw the movie. I can be unbiased, and I try to present that in my reviews, but my knee-jerk response to a movie is mostly influenced by attitude and mood. “Clash of the Titans” is no exception.

I had extremely low expectation for this movie. I wouldn’t have seen it at all, except that there was nothing better at the theater, so I thought I was settling. The movie is a remake of the 1981 classic of the same name, and like its predecessor it is loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus, the son of Zeus and a human woman.  

The movie starts  with a narrated story of the Gods, explaining how Zeus (Liam Neeson) became the King of the Gods and how his brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) was tricked into becoming the God of the Underworld. Zeus needs the prayers of the people in order to continue his reign, yet the people of Greece have grown proud and restless.

When a fisherman finds a coffin floating far out at sea he discovers a live baby inside and raises the boy as his own. He names the boy Perseus. When the Perseus is in his early twenties, he and his family witness the destruction of the statue of Zeus. The King of Argos ordered the demolition of the statue, an act of war against the Gods. The people soon learn that when the Gods go to war, they play dirty.

When he discovers the truth about who he really is, Perseus (Sam Worthington, of “Avatar“ fame) becomes entangled in the war between the Gods and the humans. He must find a way to kill the Kraken, the Gods’ biggest weapon against the humans. It’s the only way to save the people of Greece from obliteration.

Perseus and his band of warriors, who look like a tribe of unwashed hippies, dreadlocks and all, set out on a mission to find the Stygain Witches. The witches hold the secret of how to kill the Krakan. The warriors meet up with all sorts of exciting and frightening creatures along the way, and each battle reveals a little more of who Perseus is and who he could become.

Sam Worthington is the leading man in this adventure story and I think he may have a big Hollywood career in front of him. The handsome 33-year-old is already well known in Australia, but he’ll need to prove to American audiences that he can act beyond the serious warrior character he has played in both “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans.”  

This isn’t movie-of-the-year, but the graphics are first rate and the storyline is larger than life, so I’d recommend seeing “Clash of the Titans” on the big screen. Thankfully, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and at times it borders on campy – since when did the Greeks have British and Australian accents? My recommendation is to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

**Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” ““ I may never get in a hot tub again

The cast of "Hot Tub Time Machine" is a group of pretty funny guys, too bad the writers weren't quite as funny.

The cast of "Hot Tub Time Machine" is a group of pretty funny guys, too bad the writers weren't quite as funny.

Rated R

Directed by Steve Pink

Starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Chris Robinson, Clark Duke, Lizzy Caplan, Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 2.5/5

Word of Warning: This one is rated R for good reason.  Mom, you have been warned.

The eighties were pretty funny, that is something we can all agree on – hot pink, neon, leg warmers,  big bangs, “Red Dawn,” Bow Wow Wow. This movie incorporates all the hilarity of these ridiculous styles and yet it continues the use of “shock comedy,” a new trend in movies that is really starting to put me off.

Tapping into our eighties sentimentality, this film star John Cusack, who will go down in the history books as an eighties movie icon. The storyline reunites old friends, Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Chris Robinson of “The Office”) and Lou (Rob Corddry).

The lives of these three forty-something year-old men couldn’t be more different. Adam is a semi-successful suit who is unsuccessful in love. His sister’s twenty year old son, Jacob (Clark Duke), who spends all his time living in a virtual online world, lives in Adam’s basement. Nick works in an unfulfilling job and is married to a controlling wife, who may be cheating on him. Lou is an alcoholic who can’t seem to stop the party, and it’s killing him.

The friends, with Jacob along for the ride, embark on a weekend trip to their old party stomping grounds, Kodiak Valley Ski Resort. When they arrive they find the place nearly deserted. Shops have been boarded up and their hotel is in disrepair. The hotel bellboy, a surly one-armed man (Crispin Glover), shows them to their suite, also rundown and not nearly as cool as they remember it.

They decide to make the best of a bad situation by getting naked and drunk in the suite’s outdoor hot tub. After a night of debauchery, they awake to find Kodiak Valley Ski Resort has changed – they have been transported to the headache inducing eighties to relive a crazy weekend from their youth.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" features all the things I love to hate about the eighties.  I wonder what has happened to Aqua Net stock?

"Hot Tub Time Machine" features all the things I love to hate about the eighties. I wonder what has happened to Aqua Net stock?

The problem? If they don’t relive it exactly, the future could be drastically altered and Jacob, who is only twenty, might never come to exist.

As far as the acting in “Hot Tub Time Machine,” Rob Corddry is a damn funny guy, and even though I felt bad laughing at the drunken antics of an alcoholic, he was well-cast for this role. Chris Robinson showed he is able to expand his abilities beyond playing Darryl the warehouse guy from “The Office.” Clark Duke played a likable geek and John Cusack, well, he was John Cusack. But where was Joan Cusack? Don’t they always do movies together?  

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is amusing at times, and even borders on eighties-style campiness, which is great. Yet, the “shock comedy” factor was unnecessary. Why does every comedy have to resort to this type of humor?

I’m not a prude, but I would like a writer to surprise me with his or her wit, not surprise me with the depth of their depravity. Yes, this style of humor will often make me chuckle, but it’s sophomoric and at times insulting, and honestly, I’m over it.

If you want to reminisce about the eighties, listen to some “Jessie’s Girl” on the big screen, and relive your glory days as a pot-smoking, wannabe member of a hair band, this just may be the movie for you. But be warned, the fart joke has been taken to another level and you may not like it.

Note: My husband liked this one a lot more than I did. Perhaps it is because he has a much better memory of the eighties. The nineties were my decade.

**Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

“The Ghost Writer” – bring a pillow (for either sleeping or smothering purposes)

Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor in Polanski's not-so-thrilling thriller, "The Ghost Writer."

Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor in Polanski's not-so-thrilling thriller, "The Ghost Writer."

Rated PG13

Directed by Roman Polanski

Starring Ewan McGregor, Kim Catrall, Olivia Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Hutton

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 2.5/5

Word of Warning: I’d recommend being well caffeinated before viewing this one.

Say what you like about Roman Polanski, but the guy does know the craft of movie making. However, I think this one could have been so much better. Robert Harris, who wrote the book “The Ghost,” adapted the screenplay with Polanski’s assistance, which tells me the book is probably a slow read.

The movie is about a British ghostwriter who has been asked to write a book with a former British Prime Minister named Adam Lang. This new ghostwriter is a replacement because the former ghostwriter died in an apparent drowning accident.

The former writer had nearly completed the manuscript, which is now under lock and key. The new ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) has the task of taking the original manuscript and completing the man’s work. Throughout the two-hour movie McGregor’s character is never given a name, he is simply “The Ghost.”

Mr. Lang, his wife and their small staff are currently living on an island on the Eastern seaboard of the United States and the ghostwriter is sequester to the island in order to complete the book.

After the writer arrives, things change dramatically when Mr. Lang is accused by a former cabinet member of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists to be handed over to the CIA for torture – a war crime. What was a simple autobiography by a former Prime Minister now becomes somewhat more significant.

The ghostwriter is unwittingly caught up in the drama now surrounding the former Prime Minister, and as the writer gets more heavily involved he begins to question if the death of his predecessor was just an accident or something much more sinister.

Because of Polanski’s outstanding warrant stemming from a 1977 sexual assault against a minor, “The Ghost Writer” was filmed in Germany. The film is dubbed a “thriller,” but quite frankly there is nothing thrilling about it.

The first half drags and although it does pick up towards the end, it lacks a punch. Perhaps it was the subject matter, I don’t get all worked up about torture – the idea that all this drama was over the extradition of suspected terrorists for torture by the United States just wasn’t much of a compelling storyline.

In addition, though well crafted, “The Ghost Writer” was painfully slow. I’ve stated this before and I’ll state it again, I’m not opposed to slow, thoughtful films. Some of my favorites would fall into this category, but I felt like this movie didn’t get started until it was nearly over.

Yes, I get it. The movie is about something bigger, about how we are all ghosts in a play that goes on without us ever knowing who is directing the various scenes, but “The Ghost Writer” just didn’t do it for me. If you still want to see it I’d recommend  waiting for the DVD.

**Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

Note: This film will start on April 2, at Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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