Category Archives: Children

The Book Thief (2013)

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The Book Thief

The Book Thief (2013)

Based on the beloved international bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the story of an extraordinary, spirited young girl sent to live with a foster family in WWII Germany. While subjected to the horrors of Nazi Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others, including a Jewish refugee who is being sheltered by her adoptive parents in the basement of their home.

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I was unfamiliar with the book on which this movie is based, but wanted to see it because of the quality cast (Geoffrey Rush & Emily Watson). I also had found, while researching the music for a friend, video clips (like this interview, and this one) which intrigued me. After seeing this beautiful film, I will definitely put The Book Thief on my reading list.

Narrated by Death himself, this tale shows ordinary Germans during Hitler’s rise while focusing on Liesel, her adoptive family, and the working class residents on her street. Some of the neighbors embrace the Nazi party, some just try to survive, Liesel’s parents try to save the son of a Jewish friend.

As Liesel grows up, she finds great joy and comfort in stories. After the Bürgermeister arranges a mass book burning in the town square, the books that remain become even more precious to her – requiring some creativity and stealth for their acquisition. Hence the title.

The war progresses as wars do, the Nazis grow their evil as Nazis do. Death is always there keeping us abreast of his work: “The bombs were falling thicker now. It’s probably fair to say that no one was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me.”

Ultimately, what I appreciated most perhaps is the ability to convey humanity in the German people, without downplaying the depths of evil in which their country is submerged.

The performers that drew me to this film originally were definitely not a disappointment, heading up an impressive cast overall. Notably: Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse, who is luminous and heartbreaking, as our protagonist. As Rudy, her lovesick friend, Nico Liersch brings to life his hopefulness and longing.

This movie is perfect for most in my circle, though may be a bit slow and ‘small’ for a few.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 46%; Audience 75%
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Despicable Me (2010)

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Despicable Me

When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds their love is profoundly changing him for the better.

This is a movie I have heard a lot about, but (not having kidlings) I had never really planned to watch it. I had expected, though, that on viewing I would find some hidden nods to adults – for instance, as they did in Enchanted – but, other than a slam of Lehman Brothers and a Saturday Night Fever reference, I don’t recall any.*

So, my thoughts…eh. Didn’t do much for me, doesn’t seem like the kind of movie the nephews & nieces would have wanted to watch repeatedly. Yes, I did spend unbearable weeks suffering through Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on a loop. D got his fill of The Lion King

I’m glad it was a free viewing (and I am glad it exposed the fact we were sold a floor model), doubt I’d watch it again. If you have kidlings, though, it would kill a few hours without destroying brain cells – theirs or yours.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood – but I thought it was just OK.

*We bought a new Blu-ray player at Fry’s Electronics Saturday. When we set it up, we found a disc in the drive. It was Despicable Me, clearly marked as “non-inventory demo”, so I’m guessing they sold us a floor model. Not sure whether it was the disc or the player, but the movie froze, jumped, and glitched repeatedly, making viewing less than optimal.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 81%; Audience 81%

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Happily N’Ever After (2006)

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Happily N'Ever After

Happily N’Ever After

Bad.

Bad, bad.

For those who couldn’t get enough of SHREK, HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER supplies a similar take on fairy-tale traditions.

Yeah, right. They wish it had anything in common with Shrek.

It gets one star because you could probably use it to keep your toddler distracted for a few minutes.


Rotten Tomatoes: critics 4%; users 21%;

Shrek 2 (2004)

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Shrek 2

Shrek 2

Princess Fiona’s parents invite her and Shrek to dinner to celebrate her marriage. If only they knew the newlyweds were both ogres.

A movie that survives as a sequel. Loved all the references to other films, love Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy, love John Cleese and Julie Andrews. Don’t get why they needed Cameron Diaz in the part, let alone paying her $20 million to do it – she doesn’t bring anything extra to the role. We laughed straight through, I would definitely watch this one again. And again.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 89%; Audience 69%