Vicki Hopkins's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

The Man Who Invented Christmas
2 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I cannot count how many versions I've watched of A Christmas Carol on film. This movie puts a whole new magical spin to the story penned by Charles Dickens that might make you sniffle at the end.

Meet the younger Charles Dickens, who has four children and one on the way (apparently he had 10 altogether). He's just had two flops, isn't making any money and bills are due, and the most dreadful thing has happened - writer's block. (Been there myself.) The story is basically his attempt to come up with a new piece in a short period of time, which he publishes himself because his publishers aren't too keen on the story. (See, even the literary geniuses can get it wrong.)

As Dickens starts to collect names in his little book that he carries around, he jots down Marley. The city and its residents are his inspiration as he begins to build the story after meeting a man who thinks the world would be better off without the poor. As bits and pieces of the tale come together so do his characters. As an author, I absolutely adored the scenes. When he finally creates Scrooge in his mind, none other than Christopher Plummer shows up and becomes his muse of a sidekick and Dicken's own personal tormentor throughout the creation of A Christmas Carol.

The film has its lighthearted moments, mostly from the oneliners that Scrooge throws at Dickens. In addition, as he develops characters, more of them come alive and continue to haunt his every move - from Marley to the ghosts of past, present, and future. However, as Dickens delves into the complex character of Scrooge, he finds himself faced with his own demons regarding his childhood and his father who was sent to debtor's prison. Apparently, true to Dicken's life, he did work in a factory as a child of 12 years of age and suffered the life of poverty while his father, mother, and siblings were doing time.

I found the film a delightful and fanciful filled story. The Victorian London comes alive in the streets, houses, and costumes. Dan Stevens is an absolute joy to watch as Dickens, putting his best acting in this eccentric writer haunted by the characters he creates. Christopher Plummer is an absolute gem as Scrooge and even more believable than some of the actors who have played the role in the story itself.

What I enjoyed about this movie the best, is that it has taken a well-known story and spun it with a new twist. It allows us to see how perhaps the creative mind of Dickens worked and the inspirational muse that often drives writers to become a bit wonky, isolated, and neurotic. Even Dickens, as portrayed in this movie, dwells on his inadequacies and fears of not being able to produce another great work.

If you're suffering from the Scrooge mentality, this movie may get you in the mood for Christmas.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One! (Charles Dickens)

Ben-Hur (2016)
18 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Should there be a law against remaking classic movies? Perhaps they should be left untouched, like master paintings done by great artists. After all, filmmaking is a form of art. It's not like anyone is taking a paint brush to one of Picasso's or Vincent Van Gogh's masterpieces and updating it for today's audiences. So why do that with other art forms such as film? I'm struggling for an answer. After the first fifteen minutes, I wanted to walk out. Really. Walk out.

I made myself stay put, agonizing over the beginning of the tale with new actors and a different beginning until they were all arrested and sentenced. The only time I perked up was when Judah was chained in the galley for a short-run of rowing. The iconic line of, "We keep you alive to serve this ship," was never spoken. (Actually, I was thinking you keep me alive suffering to see this movie so I can write a review.)

Jurassic World
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

In 1993, I went with my son, who at that time was eight-years-old, to see Jurassic Park. It was a milestone in entertainment as we sat in the only theater in Portland to have the nifty new Dolby Digital sound, making the dinosaurs' roars totally awesome.

The movie scared the bejeebers out of me. I spent most of the time during the T-Rex scene (after the "where's the goat" question) underneath a jacket with my son afraid to watch the poor kids go through their ordeal. To be honest, none of the sequels matched the first one in scare factor-until now.

Watching Jurassic World was a scary ride that I will term "Raptor-luscious." I jumped in my seat. Brought both hands to my head and held it in fright. Leaned hard into the seat while grabbing my armrests with both hands. (I guess I was trying to get out of the way.) Not much gets to me in the scare factor, but this one hit the nerve.

Okay, so here you are in the park! It's open. It's cool. The original dream has come alive. However, the DNA processing has progressed to scary levels. The park owners want the "wow" factor to increase, so the scientists tinker and make a brand new hybrid dinosaur. "Probably not a good idea." Of course, it was a really, really bad idea. It doesn't take long for containment to breech and all hell break loose. Of course, removing 20,000 visitors from the park is no easy feat.

Some reviews I've read complain about the lack of character development in the storyline. The character line-up includes the over-zealous park manager, the nifty Raptor trainer, a concerned investor, and a sleazy character who really needs to be eaten to shut him up. Every story needs an antagonist, and he's no different. Then, as in the original, insert two kids that need to be rescued to keep your heart pounding, like it did in the first movie, by grabbing your sympathy for the two poor boys unable to defend themselves.

The characters are in place, and I will admit there are not a whole lot of lines or backstory to the characters that develop them in any way. However, the character focus in this movie is on the dinosaurs--the new hybrid and the Raptors. They are the true stars that will capture your attention either through roar or deed, leading to a very surprising twist you won't see coming.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie in non-3D but am really tempted to get back to the show as soon as possible and have one of those beasts come after me in 3D. It's a rush. The special effects are great, and the throaty sounds of the hybrid and the hissing of the Raptors are music to your ears.

So grab a bag of popcorn, a cold drink, and buckle up for flesh eating, crunching fun-filled time with splattering blood from victims. Don't take it so seriously in movie land. A lot of people get eaten, true, but it's no worse than the carnage I've seen lately in movies from humans killing humans. At least with dinosaurs you can forgive them because they just want to eat.

Owen: These animals are thinking: "I gotta eat." "I gotta hunt." "I gotta...". You gotta be able to relate to at least one of those things.

Go have some fun. It will take you back to 1993. Really, it will, even in the story.

Woman in Gold
Woman in Gold (2015)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie. In order to find justice, we can't forget the injustice. Helen Mirren is gold.