Friday, April 29, 2011

Water for Elephants

My View:  Water for Elephants (2011)  Robert Pattinson plays a Veterinarian student at the height of the 1930’s depression, and, on the day of his final exams, loses his parents in a car crash. Now homeless, he runs away to join the circus.  Oscar-Winning (Best Supporting Actor, 2009) Christoph Waltz manages the circus with a mob-like iron hand, with his wife, played by Oscar-Winning (Best Actress, 2005) Reese Witherspoon, who is the star attraction of the big show. Its love at first sight for Pattinson, as he falls for Witherspoon, but he knows he can’t get involved with the boss’ wife because of the obvious consequences. This is a lush-looking film, reminiscent of the MGM films of the forties and fifties, and it’s excellent at revealing the bold, brassy world of the Big Top.  The weak link in this movie is Pattinson; he often looks lost and just can’t seem to keep up with the acting chops of Witherspoon and Waltz.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Water for Elephants Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time):
#45 Best Film:
Vertigo (1958)  Alfred Hitchcock directed this psychological tale of a man, played by Jimmy Stewart, who investigates the mysterious comings and goings of a friend’s wife.  Kim Novak plays the mysterious woman and captivates Stewart so much that he becomes obsessed with her.  Part mystery, part thriller, this film utilizes many beautiful San Francisco locations in Technicolor glory.  Hitchcock’s direction pulls you into the story from the beginning, and while Novak’s acting is a little lacking, Stewart gives one of his best performances as the conflicted detective.   Vertigo Info
Forgotten Film:  Cold Comfort Farm (1995)  Kate Beckinsale plays a 20 year-old orphan who comes to live with her distant relatives. The farm is quite dreary, but the relatives are even more so.  Beckinsale is a breath of fresh air to the farm, and she sets out to change each of her relative’s lives.  Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry round out the cast in this warm and funny comedy, but it’s Beckinsale and her performance that make this film worth watching.    Cold Comfort Farm Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):   Moguls & Movie Stars:  History of Hollywood (2011)   This is a captivating history of the Hollywood studio system, from the beginning of the industry in New York with Thomas Edison to the downfall of the system in the 70’s.  Produced by Tuner Classic Movies, it’s a fascinating look on how movies were made and the people who made them.  This film encompasses many great interviews and lots of rare footage.   Moguls & Movie Stars Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of Water for Elephants:  Stampede Girl

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Tree of Life   Written and directed by Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt is the father of three boys in the 1950’s.  Sean Penn plays one of the grown sons who is dealing with his troubled childhood in present day.  The trailer for this movie is captivating, and I can’t wait to see it.   The Tree of Life Trailer
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 22, 2011


My View:  Scre4m (2011) My advice to you, when you rent Scre4m, is watch the first five minutes of the film and then turn it off…because the only thing worth watching in this film is its opening sequence.  Sidney (played by Neve Campbell) has come home to promote her new book and wouldn’t you know it, Ghost Face has started killing again, and Sidney is his ultimate target.  David Arquette and Courteney Cox reprise their roles of Chief of Police Dewey Riley and Reporter Gale Weathers (now Weathers-Riley).  The tension between Arquette and Cox is very visible in their scenes together (they separated in marriage during the making of this film), and makes the supposed love relationship appear extremely uncomfortable.  While the original Scream was a good twist on the horror / slasher movie, this version is just more of the same - making it an old, tired, bloody mess.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again  Scre4m Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time):
#45 Worst Film:
Tarzan the Ape Man (1981)  Hot off her role in the Dudley Moore film, 10, Bo Derek and her husband, John Derek (Director), decided to remake the Tarzan story, and, this time, it’s told from the point of view of Jane. The idea may have worked if the actress who played the part of Jane could act, but we all know that Bo Derek couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.  This is a film where the title character comes on the screen more than half-way into the film and actually has no lines.  Bo Derek’s main acting ability is putting her finger to her lips to show emotion, and she does this many, many times throughout the film.  Co-star, Richard Harris, in the role of Jane’s father, must have known he was making a bad film because he literately chews up every scene that he is in.  Even the numerous appearances of Bo’s naked breasts make this film not-worth-watching.  Tarzan the Ape Man Info
Forgotten Film:  State and Main (2000)  A movie studio has decided to relocate their film (due to budget costs) to a sleepy little town in Vermont.  Like an invading army, the filmmakers take over the town, thinking that they can take advantage of the townspeople.  Written and directed by David Mamet, this film has encompasses some of the best dialogue, with almost a sitcom-like quality to it.  Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the screenwriter who, somehow, has to incorporate the new location into his script.  He then falls in love with a local shop owner, played by Rebecca Pidgeon, a woman who isn’t very impressed with the Hollywood lifestyle.  This movie has a large and impressive supporting cast, including Alec Baldwin as the leading actor who tries to sleep with everyone in the town.  Sarah Jessica Parker is the lead actress who finds religion, and William H. Macy,as the director, sees his movie slipping through his fingers.  State and Main Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  The King’s Speech  (2010)  Colin Firth (in an Oscar winning role) is the reason to see this film.  Firth gives a brilliant performance of King George VI whose ascension to the throne is unexpected, but he is handicapped by his stuttering disability.  King George seeks a speech therapist (played by Geoffrey Rush) who uses unconventional and controversial means to improve The King’s speech and his image.  Helena Bonham Carter plays Queen Elizabeth, the only person who fully understands what her husband is going through.  Great writing and direction make this one of the best films of 2010.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  The King's Speech Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Music Never Stopped:  Parking Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Bridesmaids  Saturday Night Live actress Kristen Wiig wrote and starred in this comedy about a group of bridesmaids who get together to celebrate the upcoming marriage of the bride, played by Maya Rudolph.  This could be a big, funny hit with Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) producing and Paul Feig (creator of the cult TV program Freaks and Geeks) directing.  Bridesmaids Trailer
Until Next Time!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My View:  Hanna (2011)   Over the past year, we have had a rash of movies (Sucker Punch, Kick-Ass) about young, tough females who are willing to duke it out and who don't hesitate to kill.  Hanna is a film where the protagonist is a 16 year-old girl, brought up in isolation in the Arctic Circle by her father, with the sole purpose of killing a CIA operative.  I liked Saoirse Ronan as Hanna and Cate Blanchett is fun to watch as Hanna's target / protagonist, but the movie, even with all its wild and exciting action sequences, just seems to drag in spots.  I also have trouble with a film where the main character is scared of electricity because she has never seen it before, but she can go into an internet cafe and figure out how to Google.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Hanna Info
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time):
#46 Best Film:
Murder, My Sweet (1944)  Directed by Edward Dmytryk, this film is a Film Noir detective movie at its best.  Private eye Phillip Marlowe (played by Dick Powell) is hired by a petty crook to find his former girlfriend.  What appears, at first, to be a simple case, becomes a web of lies, bribery and murder.  The film, with its intriguing Black and White Cinematography, shows a dark and gritty world that Marlowe has to intricately and schemingly navigate through.   Murder, My Sweet Info
Forgotten Film:  Mumford (1999)  The small town of Mumford gets a new psychologist, who coincidently has the same last name as the town.  The psychologist quickly endears himself to the workings of the town and its people while giving quirky advice to his patients and friends.  Things seem to be going well until Dr. Mumford starts falling in love with one of his patients (played by the lovely Hope Davis).  An all star cast of supporting characters (Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard, Mary McDonnell, Martin Short) make this a fun, quick witted comedy.  Mumford Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Catfish (2011)  This is a documentary about a slightly naïve, young New York photographer who starts up an online relationship (very innocently, by the way) with an 8 year-old girl.  Through his relationship with the little girl, the main character meets her older sister, online, and a long distance romance between the two begins.  His friends then decide to film him to see what the online relationship is all about.  The true turning point occurs when the group of friends make an unexpected discovery  on a road trip they take to meet up with the new, mysterious girlfriend.  Part romance, part mystery with a little suspenseful thriller thrown in.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Catfish Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of Hanna:  "Magic Consultant"

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Something Borrowed (2011)  Cute Ginnifer Goodwin plays a girl who has had a crush on her girlfriend’s fiancée’ (Colin Egglesfield) since her college days.  Kate Hudson plays the soon-to-be-bride who always seems to get her way.  Will Goodwin finally tell her best friend’s fiancée how she feels about him, and will he go through with the marriage?  Something Borrowed Website
Until Next Time!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Win Win

My View:   Win Win (2011)  If you liked Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, then you should see Win Win.  Paul Giamatti plays a small town lawyer struggling to keeps his practice open and supplements his income by moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach. A troubled teenager (played by Alex Shaffer) shows up at an elderly client’s doorstep and through a series of events, Giamatti and his family take in the teenager.  Things start unraveling when the teenager’s mother comes to town.  This film is full of humor, intelligence and warmth, with some great performances by Giamatti and Shaffer. Definitely one of the better feel-good movies of the year.   My Rating:  Full Price  Win Win Info
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time):
#46 Worst Film:
Can’t Stop The Music (1980)  The disco movement of the 70’s was dying, so what does Hollywood do?...release a disco movie staring The Village People!  This god-awful musical stars perennial bad film actor, Steve Guttenberg as a struggling songwriter, who, to promote his music, forms the infamous 70’s band, The Village People.  Rounding out the stellar cast is Valerie Perrine and one of the worst film actors of all time, Bruce Jenner.  For those of you who have fond memoires of the 70’s, this movie will destroy them.  Can't Stop the Music Info
Forgotten Film:  What’s Up, Doc ? (1973)   Director Peter Bogdanovich made this film as an homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930’s. A mild-mannered research scientist (played by Ryan O’Neal) comes to San Francisco with his fiancée (played by the hilarious Madeline Kahn) to try and win a research grant.  The scientist encounters a wacky, college dropout (played by Barbra Streisand) who turns his world upside down.  A great comedy that ends with a chase sequence through downtown San Francisco that you won’t want to miss.  What's Up, Doc? Info
In Case You Missed It ( A Film Just Released on DVD):  Easy A (2010)  A very funny, star-making performance by Emma Stone makes this a laugh-out-loud comedy to see.  Stone plays an unpopular high school girl who tells a little white lie by claiming that she lost her virginity at a party. She then gets a bad reputation but uses her new, promiscuous reputation to her advantage…until the lies start backfiring on her.  Great use of narration and a good cast make up for the slightly predictable ending.   My Rating: Full Price  Easy A Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Win Win:  Frank’s Cat:  Lilly

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Water for Elephants (2011)   This Reese Witherspoon/Robert Pattinson drama has a lot of people in Hollywood excited.  A young veterinary student (Pattinson) runs away to the circus after his parents are killed in a car accident.  Based on the best selling novel, it is one of the most anticipated movies of 2011.  Water for Elephants Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 1, 2011


My View:  Rango (2011) :  Think of this film as an animated, adult, western with comedy thrown in.  While I liked the look of this film – it had a nice use of very bright and vivid colors - I didn’t like the storyline.  A chameleon (voiced by Johnny Deep), out on his own for the first time in his life, encounters a wild-west town that needs a new sheriff.   The chameleon takes the name of Rango and deals with the problems of the town mostly with wit and bluster.  The film is much too adult and way too long (107 min) for young children; and with the amount of talking and bouncing around that the 7 year-old sitting in front of me did, I think she would agree.
My Rating:  Cable  Rango website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time): 
#47 Best Film:
The Thin Man (1934)  A murder mystery with a bit of comedy, this film is the story of Nick and Nora Charles, a well-to-do married couple with a dog named Asta, who get bored, and decide to solve a missing persons case.  This is one of my favorite films, with William Powell playing the wise-cracking former detective and Myrna Loy playing his wealthy wife who tries to keep up with her hard-drinking husband.  The chemistry of the two leads and their characters’ love for each other makes it an enjoyable film to watch.  The dog almost became as big of a star as Powell and Loy.  The Thin Man Info
Forgotten Film:  Restoration (1995)  This film, set in 17th century England, shows the rise and fall of a young physician (played by Robert Downey, Jr.).  The young physician becomes the personal doctor of the King (played by Sam Neill) in the time of the Black Plague.  The physician’s downfall, however, develops when he falls for the wrong woman, but he eventually finds redemption in discovering his true calling in life. This film has a great look with its sets portraying contrasting worlds of the royal world to the grim world of lowly subjects. Downey gives one of the better performances of his career.  Restoration Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Black Swan (2010):  A ballet dancer (played by Natalie Portman in her Best Actress Academy Award winning role) wins the lead for “Swan Lake” but starts losing her grip on reality when the pressure and competition start wearing on her.  This psychological thriller, with a little horror thrown in, works well because of the performances of Portman and, surprisingly, Mila Kunis (from That 70’s Show), who received a  Best Supporting Oscar nomination.   My Rating:  Full Price  Black Swan Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of Rango:  Sound Technician for Mr. Depp

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Source Code   Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who discovers that he is part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. This Sci-Fi action film is getting goodHollywood buzz and is being compared to 12 Monkeys.  Source Code website
Until Next Time!