Movie review: The Jungle Book

The standout of The Jungle Book, both visually and aurally, may be King Louie.

jungle-book-2016I’ve never read the 1894 stories by Rudyard Kipling known as the Jungle Book. Nor did I ever catch the 1967 film that was the last full-length animated film produced by Walt Disney himself. And no copy exists in the Albany Public Library; I may have to get a copy through interlibrary loan.

I have watched scenes of the older film featuring the songs I Wanna Be Like You and especially The Bare Necessities.

So seeing the 2016 version, done with special effect animals and scenery, plus a real boy (Neel Sethi as Mowgli) in the center of the action, was a very different experience. The technological challenge was daunting for director Jon Favreau, who has piloted such diverse fare as Iron Man and Chef.

He succeeded.

My wife claims that I flinched more in this film that the three of us saw at Albany’s Madison Theatre on Sunday than she can recall, especially with the appearances of angry tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba). I recognized right away the voice of Bill Murray as the crafty bear Baloo, and that was actually a relief after all the action that had taken place up to that point.

All the voice actors were quite fine: Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, the panther; Lupita Nyong’o as Mowgli’s wolf mother, Raksha; Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, the wolves’ father; and Scarlett Johansson as the snake Kaa. The late Gary Shandling had a small role as Ikki, the porcupine. Even Favreau got into the act as a pygmy hog, and used his kids Madeline and Max as Raquel the rhino and a young wolf.

Still, the standout, both visually and aurally, may be King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken, who’s seeking the “red flower.” My spouse, who’s not a Walken fan, even said so. This is NOT Walt’s Louie.

If The Daughter had been five, I believe this film would have terrified her, but as a tween, she’s more impervious to scary movie action.

This is a fine film. Read SamuraiFrog’s review.

March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade

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Louisville doctor says breakthrough treatment could wipe out cancer in a decade. Even better, one of the subjects in the story is my friend Eddie, the Renaissance Geek!

Keefknight Cartoon: Colon. One of my brothers-in-law died from colorectal cancer in 2002, at the age of 41.

Why I Left the Right: How Studying Religion Made Me a Liberal.

The White House Welcomes Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church. See this powerful documentary in full (60 minutes).

The Disappearing Soldier.

Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage.
Continue reading “March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade”

Money or mitigating mistakes?

Would I have to relive parts of my twenties? OH, God, please, NO.

bluepillOne finds these on Facebook all the time. Would you rather have this large sum of money, or do something that would be perceived as more noble?

I look at these options, and the choice was surprisingly easy; I’d take the cash. This does not come from either greed or shallowness. Rather it is from the recognition that the mistakes I made – and to quote Sinatra, “I’ve made a few” Continue reading “Money or mitigating mistakes?”

MOVIE REVIEW: Inside Out

The kudos for Inside Out, and great box office to boot, are well deserved.

Inside-OutAs luck would have it, The Wife, The Daughter and I attended the same Sunday afternoon showing of the new, animated Disney/Pixar film Inside Out at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany as our friend Jon with his kids.

Afterwards, we went to eat supper, and Jon, who is a therapist, noted how well the movie did in capturing the various human feelings, as understood by the psychological community. This is because Pixar used consultants to infuse what scientists have learned about the mind, emotion and memory and worked to get those childhood emotions just right.

Everything was going great for 11-year-old girl named Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), until she has to leave her beloved Minnesota Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Inside Out”

MOVIE REVIEW: Tomorrowland

tomorrowland-movieIf it’d been up to me, I might have passed on seeing it. Tomorrowland was beset by middling reviews.

Worse, the (not unusual) manipulation of the Disney audience to see the film was quite impressive, but really irritating. “Get your backstage pass” to this great film, the network promotion machine hawked on several program The Daughter watches.

Its box office (relative) failure – as of June 14, 2015, domestic box office of $83,607,000 and foreign box office of $93,500,000, against a production budget of $190 million – put the kibosh on more Disney science fiction.

Still, The Wife, The Daughter, her friend Kay and I went on a hot Sunday afternoon to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Tomorrowland”