Friday, January 27, 2012
My View: The Grey (2012) Liam Neeson plays a hunter whose job is to protect the men who work on the Alaska pipeline from wolves. Traveling in northern Alaska, a plane full of workers, including Neeson’s character, crashes into the Alaskan wilderness. Not only are the men low on food and other supplies, they are smack in the middle of the territory of a pack of wolves and the wolves, wanting to get rid of the invaders, start picking off the men one by one. While I enjoyed Neeson’s role, much of the characters in the movie are very predictable, and, at times I found myself even rooting a little for the wolves. If you see this film, be sure to take a sweater, as this film does an impressive job of showing you the harshness of the Alaskan Winters. Just a footnote: there are very few cases of wolves attacking humans and most occur after humans have been living for quite awhile in their territory. My Rating: Cable The Grey
My View: Man on a Ledge (2012) Sam Worthington plays an ex-cop who, after being convicted of stealing a 40 million dollar diamond (which has never been recovered), escapes from prison then steps out on the 20th floor ledge of a hotel to draw attention to his plight of being wrongly convicted. But there is more to this than meets the eye, and while he captures the attention of NYC, his brother (played by Jamie Bell) and girlfriend (played by Genesis Rodriguez) might be in on a scheme to get Worthington’s good name returned. I found Worthington a little bland in his role, and Elizabeth Banks is sorely miscast as a jaded NYC cop psychologist who is assigned to talk the ex-cop off the ledge. What makes this film fun to watch is the bickering couple of Bell and Rodriguez, who make an unlikely pair of cat burglars. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Man on a Ledge
Indyfest (A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film): Albert Nobbs (2012) Glenn Close plays the title character, a woman, who for the past 30 years, has posed as a man to get work as a waiter in 19th century Ireland. She is quiet, unassuming, and perfect in her job as a butler at a small hotel, but her dream is to own her own Tobacco shop, a goal that she almost has enough money for. But Albert’s world gets very complicated when a new maid (played by Mia Wasikowska) joins the staff and Albert’s dream could come crashing down. Glenn Close deserves her Oscar nomination in a role of a lifetime. You really root for Albert to succeed, but an even better performance is by Janet McTeer, who plays a painter who befriends Albert, and is a role that got her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. My Rating: Full Price Albert Nobbs Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
27th Best Film
Sullivan’s Travels (1941) A director (Joel McCrea) of light, musical comedies decides he wants to make a serious film about the downtrodden, a film that shows how hard life is. He realizes he can't create this type of film while living the life of a Hollywood director, so he decides to live a hobo’s life, with no money, riding the rails, experiencing the real world. He meets a young woman (played by the beautiful Veronica Lake) who, after trying to make it as an actress, is on her last dime and is headed out of town. After discovering his true identity, she decides to help him on his travels. This is a warm, funny film that pokes fun a the “Hollywood lifestyle” and the men who make films. There is incredible chemistry between McCrea and Lake as their relationship is built on friendship and compassion. Writer/Director Preston Sturges is masterful at writing witty dialogue, and makes his characters seem full, well-rounded, and funny. In my opinion, this is one of the best films made in the 1940’s and is well worth rediscovering. Sullivan's Travels Info
Forgotten Film: My Favorite Year (1982) It’s 1950’s NYC where a popular weekly live variety show is based. A junior writer (played by Mark Linn-Baker) is assigned the task of keeping a matinee idol out of trouble and sober for a week leading up to his appearance on the show. Peter O’Toole plays the actor who is known more for his boozing and womanizing than his acting. This is a very funny comedy that gives you a look into the backstage goings on in the world of 1950’s television, its Golden Age. O’Toole is truly great as the boozy swashbuckler who tries to get in as much trouble as he can, all with a twinkle in his eye. This film is loosely based on a true story where Woody Allen, a junior writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, was assigned to make sure that Errol Flynn showed up for the live telecast. My Rating: Bargain Matinee My Favorite Year Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD): 50/50 (2011) I picked this as one of my top ten films of 2011. Based on a true story, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a producer of an NPR-like radio station whose life changes when he discovers he has cancer and only has a 50/50 chance of survival. I loved the female leads in this film with Bryce Dallas Howard playing his selfish girlfriend and the very cute Anna Kendrick playing the inexperienced therapist. This is a comedy that has heart and will make you laugh and cry. My Rating: Full Price 50/50 Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance The question is not why was this film made when the first Ghost Rider was such a stinker. The bigger question is why are studios still making films with Nicolas Cage?
Weird Credits: From the credits of Underworld: Awakening (2012): Automotive Sprayer
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: John Carter (2012) Pixar’s first live action movie based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel about a man from Earth who mysteriously travels to the war-torn world of Mars. The director is Andrew Stanton who directed some of Pixar’s best films - WALL-E, Finding Nemo - and wrote Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. John Carter Info
Until Next Time!