Thursday, February 2, 2012

Big Miracle

Family Fare:  Big Miracle  (2012)  Based on a true story, this film is about a TV reporter (played by John Krasinski) in a small, far-north Alaskan town, who discovers that three grey whales are trapped by rapidly forming ice.  He recruits his ex-girlfriend (played by Drew Barrymore), a Greenpeace worker, to help mount a rescue effort.  I enjoyed this film, which has a smartly-written script and a great exceptional supporting cast including Ted Danson, Stephen Root and Kathy Baker, which makes this film cut above many of the other "family friendly" films.  Sure, it tugs at the heartstrings and Drew gets a little schmaltzy in her effort to get people to care about the whales, but ultimately it hits the mark and makes you want to root for whales and the people who try to save them.  There is a nice touch at the end credits where we see the actual news reports about the whales, and the people behind this rescue are featured.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Big Miracle Website
Indyfest (A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film):  The Iron Lady (2012)  A look at the incredible life of Margaret Thatcher, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom through, what seems to be, just sheer will and determination.  Meryl Streep is marvelous in the role, but I wish the writing was up to her acting standards.  The film is told through flashbacks as Thatcher is near the end of her life, and most of these flashbacks are brought about by conversations that Thatcher has with the ghost of her late husband (played by Jim Broadvent).  The conversations make the film seem, at times, a little silly and very stagey.  I would have been much happier with a conventional storyline.  Streep, though, is the reason to see this film, and she is outstanding in her performance.  My Rating:  Cable   The Iron Lady Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#26 Worst Film
Hercules In New York (1969)  This was Arnold Schwarzenegger's first film, and his accent was so thick that a different actor dubbed all his lines. Schwarzenegger plays the mythical strongman becomes bored of Mt. Olympus and decides that taking a trip to see the sights of New York would be fun.  This film is supposed to be a comedy, with the fish out of water Hercules trying to live in NYC, but saying that this film stinks like a 3 day-old fish is an understatement.    Hercules In New York Info
Forgotten Film:  My Life as a Dog (1985)  This Swedish film is directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who went on to direct such films as The Cider House RulesChocolat.  Ingemar (Anton Glanzelius) is a troubled 12 year-old boy, whose mother, is terminally ill, but he doesn't know it.  When the boy becomes too much to handle, he is separated from his brother and sent to live with his uncle in a small town in the country.  The town is full of eccentric characters, and the boy, who sometimes acts like a dog, fits right in.  This is a strange and charming film about how to deal with the loss of a loved one seen through the eyes of a very unusual person, a boy whom you grow to love by the end of the film.  My Rating:  Full Price   My Life as a Dog Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD)Drive (2011) A lot of critics put this film on their top ten list, but I wasn't as crazy about it because I feel Ryan Gosling wasn't quite up to playing the part of the part-time stunt driver, who moonlights as a getaway driver.  I am still shocked that Albert Brooks didn't get an Oscar nomination for his brilliant performance as a crime boss who is not afraid to "get his hands dirty."  My Rating:  Cable   Drive Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): The Dictator (2012)  It's never a good sign when you see a trailer for a comedy and you don't laugh once.  I am not a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen (I am still convinced that he is the reason I didn't love Hugo), and I don't think I will like this story of a dictator of a small Middle Eastern country who will try anything to stay in power.   The Dictator Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Big Miracle:  Whale Construction Designer

Coming Soon to A Theatre Near You:  Salmon Fishing in The Yemen  (2012)  Ewan McGregor plays a fisheries expert who is contracted by a publicist to help a sheik realize his dream of creating a place in the desert for fly-fishing.  The very cute Emily Blunt plays the love interest, and that would be enough of a reason to see this film, but it's also getting a lot of good press from the film festival circuit. Salmon Fishing in Yemen Website 
Until Next Time!

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