Spectre

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In the latest cinematic outing for James Bond (Daniel Craig), Director Sam Mendes has crafted a thrilling and deep film which deftly combines the threads of the three previous Craig outings and sets the stage very well for future outings for the series.

In “Spectre” Bond finds himself operating alone when the 007 division is in danger of being shut down due to his latest unsanctioned actions and a change in the political landscape back home.
With the powers that be convinced that surveillance is the way of the future not agents with a license to kill, Bond is racing against time to get the truth behind a mysterious figure named Franz Oberhausen (Christoph Waltz), who is the head of a very mysterious, large, and deadly organization.
From locales ranging from Mexico City, London, Rome, Austria, and North Africa, Bond stalks his target in a deadly game of cat and mouse as his every move seems to have been anticipated by the deadly organization.

Further complicating matters is that Bond is not able to call upon his resources as M (Ralph Fiennes), is unable to do little more than watch due to the pending end of the division and his new superior.

In the trademark style that the series is known for, we have exotic locale, beautiful women, gadgets, fast cars, and thrilling and intense action sequences that combine for a winning formula.

I had been a bit disappointed with Craig’s earlier films as I found them to be a bit muddled and did not find his take on Bond to mesh with the suave agent I had grown up following. That being said, “Skyfall” helped turn things around and with the plot elements of “Spectre” in place; it clearly shows a connection between the earlier films and sets the stage very well for future outings in the series.
Waltz is fantastic as the lead villain as his less than imposing stature is highly deceptive to the danger the man empowers. Audience learn more about the backstory of Bond and how he became the man that his is and Dave Bautista makes a fantastic henchman echoing shades of Odd job and a train sequence from “From Russia With Love”.
In all, thanks to the intense action, great characters and compelling story, “Spectre” is the best of the Craig Bond films and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

4 stars out of 5

The Peanuts Movie

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by Jennifer Fiduccia

Blue Sky Studios new release of the much-loved Peanuts has been highly advertised, from trailers to offers on Facebook to “Peanut-ize” yourself into a Peanuts-like character. It is directed by Steve Martino and among the Producers / Screenwriters are Craig Schulz (son of Charles Shulz) and Bryan Shulz (grandson of Charles Shulz).

The movie is most definitely nostalgic for adults who may have seen the “old” movies, and read the comic strips. I felt like I was watching bits and pieces of most of the old short cartoon shows that used to play on TV as “specials”, but it wasn’t in a bad way.

The movie is offered in 3-D which seemed at first like it might be a detriment, but it worked well. The Red Baron sequences with snoopy flying his dog house worked well in 3-D but if you get motion sick by those action scenes (as I do) close your eyes!

The audience laughed out loud at many parts of the movie, and we did too right along with them.

It’s cute, it’s funny, and it actually has a pretty good message.

Keep trying, don’t give up, be kind, be selfless, do your best, and people are likely to really SEE you for who you are.

My 7-year-old had the insight to realize when Lucy wasn’t being nice, and also caught the vibe of “life sometimes just “isn’t fair” “.

He laughed throughout the movie and I could see him tense up in anticipation and excitement in the air “combat” scenes. He says his favorite parts were Snoopy and the Red Baron air fights, the kite-eating tree, and especially the dance competition.

I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars as a great family movie that is fun to watch and has a good message.

It will go on my list of “Movies to buy on DVD to watch next Christmas Eve”