Weekend Roundup and Bottle Shock review

Happy Monday all!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Mine is relatively good, though I spent a good portion of my weekend at an orthopedic center for my swollen knee joint 😦 It might’ve been spurred on by an extra intense Zumba-jam on Saturday morning. The physician said it could’ve been a torn cartilage which may require surgery and ordered an MRI done that day. I’m going to have to return to the clinic Tuesday, so please pray that it’s nothing serious!

Anyway, suffice to say I didn’t make a trip to the cinema this weekend. Did any of you see The Avengers again? Seems like it’s still enjoying repeat business and is mighty enough to sink the Peter Berg’s Battleship, ehm. This is the second movie starring Taylor Kitsch that would likely never make its $200 mil back, ouch! I’m not saying it’s his fault but that’s gotta put a dent in his career.

Anyway, I’ll post my full review of Chronicle tomorrow, but here’s my mini review of:

BOTTLE SHOCK (2008)

I’ve been wanting to see this in a while as I’m a big fan of Alan Rickman. I also love films that are set in a wine country, despite my distate for alcohol, ahah. I even saw Letters To Juliet for that very reason.

The story takes place in the gorgeous Napa Valley, which my hubby and I visited just last year. The cinematography makes it look like an extended commercial for the place, full of stunning aerial shots of the winery and beautiful close-ups of the branches and grapes. I didn’t know it’s based on a true story until the opening credits, but apparently it’s loosely based on the Judgment of Paris event spurred by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant and an advocate for French wine. Played by the always excellent Alan Rickman, Spurrier carried out two blind taste tests that set the California-produced wines against the then superior French wine.

It starts off rather slow as the scenes alternates between Spurrier and his American businessman friend (Dennis Farina) and the scenes at Chateau Montelena where Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) perfects his chardonnay. But as soon as Spurrier flies to Napa, the story picks up rather quickly and becomes quite interesting.

Jim and his mischief-maker son Bo (Chris Pine with Thor‘s hair cut) didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and thrown into the mix is a free-spirited intern Sam (Aussie Rachael Taylor) and his BFF Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez), the son of a Mexican farmworker who’s got ‘wine in his blood.’ Now this movie wish I actually like wine and if you are a big fan of them, it certainly makes you want to open up your best bottle as you enjoy this movie.

Even though the story is quite predictable, the film maintains its charm from its actors and the dynamics between them. Rickman is pitch perfect as a British snob who’s about to get the biggest surprise of his life, and Bill Pullman is always convincing as a kindhearted everyman who gave up his law practice to follow his dreams. I like the scene when he first arrives and is helped by Jim when he gets a flat tire, it shows the contrast of two very different people whose lives are about to collide in a way neither could ever dreamed of.

The best scene in the movie involves Rickman and Pine as Spurrier is about to fly back to Paris and is told he could only carry one bottle of wine on board. His inventive way to solve this problem is quite entertaining to watch. Rickman doesn’t disappoint as always, I know he’s got comic timing and sense of irony on top of being a great villain. Chris Pine has this affable, goofball vibe about him that goes with his heartthrob good looks, and the sort of love triangle between his character and Taylor and Rodriguez aren’t over the top.

Final Thoughts: I quite like this one, it’s not brilliant storytelling or anything, but it’s got a heartwarming message about family, friendship and following — and not giving up on — your dreams. It’s worth a watch just for the Napa Valley scenery alone.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


So what did you see this weekend, folks? Anything good?

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39 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup and Bottle Shock review

  1. Ted S.

    Ouch! I hope you don’t have to go under the knife for your knee. I broke my ankle back in school during a football game so I sort of know how it feels when part of your body is injured.

    I sort of feel bad for Taylor Kitsch, it’s not really his fault, I’m sure his agents told him those films would be huge hits but of course they were wrong. Well he has one more film coming out this summer that might save his leading man career but I highly doubt that movie will be a hit.

    I’ve heard of Bottle Shock but not really a kind of movie I seek out. I finally saw Haywire and I thought it was great. It’s definitely a Sodenberg’s version of a spy/action movie. It actually reminded me of his Ocean’s films. Looking forward to seeing more of Gena on the big screen.

    1. I don’t really feel bad for Kitsch with Battleship (which looks atrocious) but he probably deserved better with John Carter. Nonetheless, he is no leading man at this point and moviegoers have spoken.

      1. Ted S.

        Maybe he’ll beg Hugh Jackman and James Mangold to let him appear as Gambit again in The Wolverine, ha ha.

    2. I sure hope not, Ted, but we’ll see what the knee surgeon says when I make an appt this week. What’s the movie Taylor Kitsch is in this Summer? Savages? It’s more of an ensemble cast so I don’t think people go see it because of him. I don’t think he’s terrible but yeah, maybe not leading man material.

      Glad you like Haywire Ted. I was curious what you’d think given how much you like action movies. You like Gina too, huh? I don’t mind seeing her in another action-packed movie, just don’t cast her in a drama, ahah.

  2. Hope your knee is okay Ruth! 😦 When I’m feeling body soreness, I take a cold shower and it really helps a lot more than ice or painkiller. Maybe you can try the same thing.

    This past weekend, I watched Shame which was a bit overly vague and ambiguous for me. Certainly warranted its NC-17 rating so I don’t really get all the hoopla late last year when it got the rating. I also rewatched Bridesmaids, which was pretty damn hilarious 😀

    1. Thanks for the tip Castor. Unfortunately, it’s more serious than that that a cold shower/ice pack won’t help. The doctor said it’s a bone bruise and possibly torn cartilage, we’ll see.

      I don’t think I’ll be seeing SHAME, not interested in it at all. I might give Bridesmaids a shot, though not that interested in that either 🙂

    2. I honestly don’t get what makes a movie get a NC-17 rating instead of a R. I personally think the NC-17 rating should be abolished, because any more that gets it is doomed to to obscurity and takes the decision away from movie-goers as to whether they want t watch it or not.

      1. I think it’s to *protect* kids from watching explicit sexual/violent content, though it’s definitely a flawed system and realistically, kids probably already watching worse films than that. I personally think the parents should have more responsibility in what their kids watch, I for one won’t let my young kids go anywhere near a lot of R-rated films, and Shame should fall into a hard R at the very least. I know we disagree on this topic but that’s my personal belief.

        1. I thought that was the purpose of the “R” rating(the protecting kids from watching explicit stuff). I don’t have a problem with that since R rated movies do get played at theaters are are usually widely available for adults who want to watch them, but NC-17 movies generally don’t get that opportunity.

          1. Castor

            Lol Julian, have you seen Shame? It’s almost a softcore porn movie at times except for the fact that the main character doesn’t appear to enjoy getting it on lol

  3. I sincerely hope you feel better and soon, Ruth. As you know, it was our favorite Pixar film at the Hero Complex Film Festival, WALL•E (with a marvelous discussion of the film with director Andrew Stanton), for me. So worth it.

  4. HAPPY Monday!!

    I am so sorry to hear about your knee matey!! OUCHIES!! I hope it gets better soon.

    I have not heard of BOTTLE SHOCK but it sounds like a nice film to snuggle up with Lyn to.

    I am about to write up my weekend. Nothing exciting, but FRC is going to be going red, white and blue for a few weeks now with the Jubilee coming up.

    1. Ouchies is right matey, fortunately the swelling went down a bit this morning but not completely gone yet.

      Oh yeah, I think both you and Lyn will enjoy it, you might want to enjoy it over a glass of wine, too 🙂

  5. Any time I see a film with Alan Rickman in it that I haven’t seen, I feel somewhat less of a person. To be honest, I didn’t even know this existed, so it looks like a trip to the rental store for me soon…. Thanks Ruth!

    Hope the knee feels better soon!

    1. I LOVE your gravatar Rodney, soooo cute!

      If you love Rickman then you should rent this for sure, Rodney. It’s based on a true story which makes it even better. The French probably aren’t too crazy about this story though, ahah.

  6. I have never heard of this one before. Sounds like a light watching and fun. I wonder if I can find it. My internet is very slow now 😦

    I watch we bought a zoo last week, I will review it next Monday as this week belongs to Cillian Murphy…only Cillian 😉

  7. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    ‘Bottle Shock’ is lacking something, overall. Though I can’t put my finger on it.

    Great cast, gorgeous scenery, decent, whimsical plot(s) and Alan Rickman being Alan Rickman. Though a bit toned down.

    I still lean more towards ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, ‘Judas Kiss’ and ‘Blow Dry’ for Rickman being fully in his element, romantically, dramatically and comedically.

    1. You’re right Jack, there are some moments that feel lacking to me, too, but overall I like it. Rickman is still great in an understated role. I should check out Judas Kiss and Blow Dry now. Thanks!

  8. PrairieGirl

    I LOVED Bottle Shock! I had heard about California beating the French way back when, and it was great to see the story of how it came about. Now Flixy, the next wine movie on your list must be Sideways ;-D

  9. Never heard of Bottle shock before. On Saturday i finally got around to seeing Avengers with my dad, so that was awesome. Yesterday we checked out a little known foreign movie focused on the last battles in the Korean war called The Frontline, which while uneven(mainly due to it being both a war movie and a spy movie) is definitely intriguing. Doesn’t leave you with a good feeling about human nature, kind of like Ran.

  10. I whole heartedly second Sideways as a recommendation. Giamatti was great. Bottle Shock wasn’t bad. Of course I watched it for Rickman and I always liked everything I’ve Bill Pullman in.

    Saw The Avengers again at the drive-in this time. I don’t care for the drive-in for certain movies and this was one of them for me but my girlfriend wanted to see it along with Dark Shadows. That movie did nothing for me. Zzzzzz. I think Tim Burton’s lost the touch he had in the 90’s. Although I will say Michelle Pfeiffer still looks great and Chloe Moretz is going to be a great actress sooner rather than later.

    Heal up and hope it’s good news on Tuesday.

    1. I definitely will give Sideways a watch one day, Dave.

      I have never been to a drive-in theater! I wish there’s one nearby, that’d be kind of fun to try. Bummer about Dark Shadows, but I think it might still be worth a rent? The trailer just looks sooo funny, I guess it just can’t live up to it. I know my hubby wants to see Avengers again, maybe when it arrives in the discount theater 🙂

  11. 1. Hope your knee gets better, Ruth!
    2. Poor Taylor Kitsch. He’s box-office poison!
    3. Nice review of Bottle Shock. Had never heard of it before.
    4. Didn’t see anything this weekend; I’ve been really busy.

    1. Thank you Fernando. Well I have an appt with a knee surgeon on Thursday, pls pray there’s nothing serious. Ahah, yeah, Kitsch probably needs to get a new agent. If you like a lighthearted dramedy about wine, then Bottle Shock is the movie for you 🙂

      Are you busy with school or work? Well whatever you do, hope you’re enjoying it, my friend!

  12. Bottle Shock sounds like an interesting movie & possibly a good pick for my sister-in-law’s birthday since she loves wine.

    I haven’t and won’t see The Avengers a second time. Although I found it entertaining, I wanted more… However, but both of my young adult sons went a second time…and one is determined to go again.

    1. Hope she likes it Brenda! It’s based on a true story too, which adds to the charm. I haven’t seen The Avengers a second time either, and I’ll be fine to wait until it’s available on Blu-ray. I’m sure younger crowds have gone to see it multiple times by now 😀

  13. I actually funny enough recommended it to a friend who wanted to learn about wines and Alan Rickman was lovely in this film. I hope you have a speedy recovery something else you might consider whether you end up have surgery or not is acupuncture or accupressure one is with needles one is without. I find it works wonders for my muscle injuries where physio has failed me. Take it easy Ruth and get better soon hopefully it isn’t serious and traditional chinese medicine like acupuncture might help if you need any info on where to get it just let me know.

  14. Sorry to hear about your knee, Ruth. Hoping for the best!

    Bottle Shock has been in our Netflix Instant queue seemingly forever — we have been waiting to watch it on a night where we feel like having a bottle of wine as well. Unfortunately, we aren’t big wine drinkers so the movie is kind of stuck in limbo, haha. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    I finally saw The Avengers over the weekend. I’m not a big superhero guy, but I had a good time with that one. Fun way to kick off the blockbuster season.

  15. I really like this movie, it had great atmosphere and really made you feel like you were there, in the sun surrounded by the scent of vines. Alan was adorable in this one.

    1. Yay, glad to hear it Sati. Yes, there is a strong sense of realism in this one and the acting seems natural. Even that guy Gustavo looks like he REALLY has wine in his blood. Alan is always adorable but that scene of him eating KFC is a hoot!

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