Thursday, October 6, 2011


My View:  50/50  Based on a true story, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of SummerInception) plays a producer of an NPR-like radio station.  His world is shattered when he is diagnosed with Cancer.  The disease is so severe that he has only a 50 percent chance of survival. He must deal with his life-threatening illness while interacting with a selfish girlfriend (played by The Help's Bryce Dallas Howard), an overly protective mother (Anjelica Huston), and a best friend (Knocked Up's Seth Rogen) whose main occupation is to get as many girls in bed as possible.  He also is only the third patient his therapist (played by Up In The Air's Anna Kendrick) has ever seen.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays his role with usual, understated grace, and Anna Kendrick is fun to watch as the inexperienced therapist who seems to try every cliché’ in the book to treat Gordon-Levitt.  Surprisingly, I found that Rogen was the weak link in this movie, which is interesting because in real life, he is the best friend of the screenwriter, Will Reiser, and supported him when he had a cancer scare.  This comedy has heart and will make you laugh and cry.  My Rating:  Full Price   50/50 Website
Indyfest (A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film):  1911  In the 100th film of Jackie Chan's career, Chan plays a hero of the founding of the Republic of China when revolutionary forces overthrew the Qing Dynasty that ruled for over 200 years.  This is not a typical Jackie Chan film (in which he also co-directed) as there is only one scene of martial arts (what he is known for), and his performance is very restrained, devoid of the humor that we have come to know in his films.  The film tries to be as historically accurate as possible, but, what I think is probably its greatest fault is the storyline is just very boring and extremely complicated.  While the war scenes are thrilling, too much of the movie is talking heads and, at times, it feels like the script was written by a committee where revolutionary ideals are pounded into the film.  My Rating:  Cable   1911 Website
The 50 (a Movie From My Best Worst Films of All Time)
#33 Worst Film
Xanadu (1980)  Olivia Newton-John stars as Kira, a muse sent to earth to inspire a mortal and down-on-his luck artist (played by one of the worst leading men of all time, Michael Beck).  But, Kira goes too far and gets into trouble with the gods because she falls in love with the artist.  The great Gene Kelly (in his last film) plays a former big-band leader with dreams of opening a new night club.  This is a musical, and the music was done by Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra.  Some of the songs are almost tolerable, but the dance numbers are bad as some happen on roller skates (they were big in the disco era), and the camera work is just horrible, shot with little thought.  The most amazing thing about this film is an appearance by the alt-rock band, The Tubes.    Xanadu Info
Forgotten Film:  Jeremiah Johnson  (1972)  Robert Redford plays Jeremiah Johnson, a man who decides he wants to become a trapper, a mountain man, in the harsh weather of the Utah Rocky Mountains.  Along the way, he encounters Indians, fellow trappers and settlers in this beautiful but dangerous wilderness.  This is a truly gorgeous film that captures the beauty of Utah, and we follow Johnson as he traps his way across the territory, battling both weather and Indians.  He even finds love and rescues an Indian woman from an attack by a warring tribe.  This is one of Redford best roles, and he definitely delivers throughout the film.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Jeremiah Johnson Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Buck (2011)  This documentary is about the real life horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman, who can seemingly train a horse by just walking into the ring.  It’s an amazing story of a man, who, as a child, was abused but has taken that experience to become a better man.  While he trains horses for a living, he really trains people on how to deal and understand horses.  It is an inspiring film about an extraordinary man.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again.   Buck Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Puss In Boots  A spin-off of the popular Shrek series, the sword-fighting cat (voiced by Antonio Banderas) is headlining his own movie.  I always felt that this was the weakest character in the Shrek movies, and I can see how the Banderas’ accent could get old really fast.   Puss In Boots Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of 50/50:  Marlowe the Wonder Dog - Herself

Flictionary (a Definition of a Film Term): Greensman:  In charge of the arrangement and landscape design of plants or foliage in a film.  Depending on the film, this can be a small job, as in creating some plants in an apartment, or it could be a larger job, for example, creating and arranging foliage on location, in outdoor shoots.

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  J. Edgar  The life and times of J. Edgar Hoover, the Head of the F.B.I. for more than 50 years. Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio.  I don't think I need to say anymore.   J. Edgar Website
Until Next Time!

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