Friday, September 2, 2011


My View:  Colombiana  (2011)  After seeing her parents murdered in Columbia, a girl child is adopted by her uncle, and he, unexpectedly but lovingly, teaches her how to be a killer.  Zoe Saldana (Avatar) portrays the girl who has grown into an assassin for hire but has an ulterior motive: she is on the hunt to find who killed her parents and bring down the murderers.  In a gory film like this, an audience must believe a stoned-cold killer lurks behind the good looks of Zoe Saldana, but I could never accept Saldana as the elite killer.  The director, Olivier Megaton, uses the oldest trick in the book, a shaky camera with quick cuts and strobe lighting, in Saldana’s close quarter fights.  This is a sure sign the actor isn't very good at doing action sequences.  In fact, throughout this film, I kept thinking how action stars like Maggie Q (Priest) or Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) would have been much better in the role…women who are bad-ass and show it well.
My rating:  Cable   Colombiana Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst films of all time)
#36 Best Film
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)  Directed by Orson Welles, this film was to be a follow-up to his landmark film, Citizen Kane, but World War II began, and Welles was sent, on behalf of the American government, to produce a propaganda film to spread goodwill in South America.  When Welles departed South America after shooting Ambersons, he left behind extensive notes on how the film should be edited.  The studio, though, did not want another long film (like Citizen Kane) and made extreme cuts, deleting more than an hour of the length Welles had intended to release.  Editors also added a happy ending when the original, final scene didn't test well with audiences.  But, this is still a great film with incredible cinematography (by Stanley Cortez) and really strong performances, especially from Anne Baxter and Joseph Cotton. Cotton plays Eugene, a man who loses the woman he loves to a rival.  The couple gets married and have a son, George, who grows up to be a spoiled, overly-indulged brat.  When George's mother becomes a widower, Eugene comes back into the picture, but George and his aunt (played by Agnes Moorehead) do everything in their power to keep the couple apart.  This is an incredible film, and we can only wonder how much better it would have been if Welles had been allowed to  release the film as he had envisioned it.   The Magnificent Ambersons Info
Forgotten Film:  Little Big Man  (1970)  This film opens with 121 year old Jack Crabb (played by Dustin Hoffman), the oldest man alive, telling his life story to an historian.  We then see Jack's life, which begins with the death of his parents in an Indian attack, and Jack is taken to the Cheyenne village to become one of their own.  The rest of the movie depicts Jack's experiences, growing up and living in the West, at times with Indians and at other times among a cast of colorful characters.  The film mixes humor and tragedy and deals directly with the conflict between Indians and settlers, who are hell-bent on taking Indian land.  Hoffman is brilliant as Little Big Man, who tries to survive the rigors of the western land.  He encounters a number of historical figures in his adventures, including Wild Bill Hickcock and General George Armstrong Custer.  The actor, though, who steals this movie, is Chief Dan George, who plays the wise old man who adopts Little Big Man as his son.  George brings warmth and grace to a role that could have been a weak caricature with another actor's portrayal.   Little Big Man Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Trollhunter (2011)  Shot in "Blair Witch" style, three college students make a documentary for school on bear-poaching in Norway.  The students follow a mysterious man who drives a strange truck, as they believe he is the poacher.  The students soon discover, though, that the man isn't hunting bears.  He's hunting trolls.  This film is funny and scary at times, but it's Otto Jespersen, in the role of the Troll-hunter, that makes this film so much fun to watch.  He has a worn, weathered appearance, and he describes his job of Troll-hunting almost as if he drives a truck for a living instead of hunting Trolls.  This film never takes itself too seriously, which makes it an enjoyable film to watch, especially if you like horror movies.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Trollhunter Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea) I Don't Know How She Does It   Sarah Jessica Parker plays a finance executive who is trying to do it all:  have a great career, a good marriage and raise two kids.  But, she gets handed a new account and then, ugh... who cares?  A better title would have been, “I Don't Care How She Does It.”   I Don't Know How She Does It Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Colombiana:   Zoe Saldana's Acting Coach

Flictionary (a Definition of a Film Term):  Gaffer:  An electrician in charge of the lighting plan of a production.  This person makes sure that all the lighting needed for the day is in place, is setup correctly and is ready to go.  The Gaffer works closely with the Director of Photography to create the look of the film through lighting.

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Dolphin Tale   Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. are cast in a film about a boy who befriends a dolphin that has lost her tail in a crab trap.  The boy inspires a group of townspeople to band together to create a prosthetic appendage for the dolphin.  The dolphin's story gets publicity and starts inspiring people with special needs.  Hey, hurt dolphins, Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd…count me in!   Dolphin Tale Website
Until Next Time!

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