Friday, August 31, 2012


My View:   Lawless (2012) During the depression, three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke) run a successful bootlegging business in Franklin County, Virginia. With corrupt law (Guy Pearce) and a local mob boss (Gary Oldman) wanting to muscle in on the brothers' business, it’s soon up to the brothers to fight back.  I was very disappointed in this film, especially since it has such a great cast, but the film never gets moving in the right direction, which I think is mostly the fault of LeBeouf, who is asked to carry much of the acting load, and he’s just not quite up to the task. Tom Hardy seems to be suffering from Bane aftereffects.  He barely talks in the film, and the usually excellent Jessica Chastain seems to be sleepwalking through the entire film. The film’s action sequences are too few and far between, and I wanted more of Gary Oldman’s character.    My Rating: Cable   Lawless Website
My ViewThe Possession (2012) A father (Jeffery Dean Morgan) and daughter (Natasha Calis) go to a yard sale and buy an antique box. Little do they know that the box they now possess is inhabited by an evil spirit, one waiting for the box to be opened so it can unleash a curse. Now the father and his ex-wife (Kyra Sedgwick) must find a way to end the curse or their daughter will die. While watching this film, I kept flashing back to The Shining when the kid talks to his finger saying “Redrum” as the girl who is possessed by the evil being in this film does a lot of talking in a strange voice. The film doesn’t deliver enough scary parts to make up for its slow moving storyline.   My Rating: Cable   The Possession Website
Indiefest:  Robot & Frank (2012)   This film, from Director Jake Schreier, is set in the near future where robots have started taking over tasks that humans normally do, such as caring for the elderly. Frank (Frank Langella) is a retired cat burglar who lives alone.  His only contact with his family are phone calls from his daughter (Liv Tyler), who is always traveling, and weekly visits from his son. Frank has started to show signs of dementia, so his son (James Marsden) brings a robot into the house to take care of Frank. Frank resists at first, as he is set in his ways, and continues taking his daily trips into town to visit the librarian, Jennifer (Susan Sarandon). He soon realizes, though, that the robot can aid him in pulling off one last heist. Langella is terrific as the crusty “second story man” who realizes that things are starting to change, but maybe he can recapture a little of his youth by planning and carrying out the caper.  The friendship that develops between the Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) and Frank is touching and shows the need of everyone (even the crankiest person) for love and friendship.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Robot & Frank Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#16 Best Film
The Maltese Falcon (1941) Humphrey Bogart stars in this classic film as Sam Spade, a Private Investigator who gets caught up in a search for the mysterious Maltese Falcon. Written and directed by the legendary John Huston, the film sets the standard for Film Noir style of film making with its dark Black and White shadows, which is used in almost every inch of this film.  The film has one of the great casts with Sydney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook Jr. , Peter Lorre and Mary Astor. This film made Bogart the star that he was destined to be.   The Maltese Falcon Info
Forgotten Film:   Slap Shot (1977) Paul Newman stars in this comedy as Reg Dunlop, the player/coach of a failing Ice Hockey team called, The Charlestown Chiefs. The team isn’t doing very well, both on the ice and at the box office, when Reg decides to play the Hanson Brothers, three violent hockey goons, and soon the future of the team starts looking up. Newman is hilarious in the role of the savvy and conniving Reg who will do almost anything to keep his hockey team together. But, be warned.  This is not the usual Paul Newman role as just about every other word that comes out of his mouth is a curse word.    Slap Shot Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):   Battleship (2012) An absolute stinker of a film about an alien invasion and a small navy force that has to defeat the alien army. When I saw this movie in the theatre, the audience was laughing at almost every twist and turn. The only thing I liked about this film was Rihanna, who plays a kick ass Petty Officer who likes blowing up things, but she can’t make up for this complete mess.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again    Battleship Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) Do we really need another Resident Evil movie with Milla Jovovich shooting big guns?  I can’t believe that five of these films have been made based off a video game.    Resident Evil: Retribution Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Possession: Truck Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLiberal Arts (2012) Josh Radnor stars and directs this film about a man who returns to his hometown, a small college town, and quickly falls for a young college student, played by Elizabeth Olsen.  I really enjoyed Radnor's last film, 2010's Happythankyoumoreplease and this romantic comedy looks even better.   Liberal Arts Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hit and Run

My View:   Hit and Run (2012) Dax Shepard plays Charlie Bronson whose girlfriend (Kristen Bell) has a job interview in Los Angeles. Charlie offers to drive her to the interview but there’s one problem – Charlie is in the Witness Protection Program, and there are some bad guys in LA who want to kill him.  Charlie and his girl now have to dodge the Feds, the bad guys and Annie’s ex on their way to the interview. This is what I call a popcorn movie.  Just have fun with it and enjoy both the action and banter. Real life couple Shepard and Bell have great chemistry together, and their scenes on the road trip are enjoyable with back and forth kidding around. Bradley Cooper, in his blond Rasta haircut, is hilarious as the bad guy out to find Charlie, a man whom he feels has betrayed him. Tom Arnold is also surprisingly funny as Charlie's Federal Marshall handler who tends to be a little accident prone. The car chases are quick and action-filled, but it's the funny, smart dialogue and the back and forth play between Bell and Shepard that makes this film go.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Hit and Run Website
My View:  The Expendables 2 (2012) Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) has assembled the Expendable team for what they think is going to be an easy mission. But they soon find that they are in over their heads, and one of the team loses his life. Now it’s time for the Expendables to get their revenge and maybe, if they have time, save the world. This is a film where you must leave your mind at the door because the plot holes in this film are big enough to drive an armored truck through. I enjoyed some of the performances, especially Jason Statham, who the film let do most of the hand-to-hand fighting, and some of the banter, that refers to the stars' former films, was fun to watch and hear.  Some of the entrances of the stars are fun, especially when we get introduced to Chuck Norris's character, but the film doesn't ever quite pull together all the parts, and doesn't really seem to know what to do with all the action star power. The new addition to the team is Nan Yu, who plays Maggie, a Chinese agent assigned to the team to help them complete their assignment.  Yu is an enjoyable addition to the team and shows some wit and good comeback reactions to this boys' club, but, overall, this movie doesn't fulfill its promise.  Please note that this film isn't for young kids.  There is quite a bit of blood splattering about and quite a few F bombs uttered by our heroes.    My Rating: Cable   The Expendables 2 Website
Indiefest:  Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012): Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are one of those couples who love to hang out together, have special catch phrases and can finish off each other sentences. There’s only one problem, though. The cutesy couple is getting a divorce and neither one realizes that they must move on. The script, written by Jones and Will McCormack, who plays Skiltz, one of the couple's friends, has some nice moments, especially at the start, when we see the couple on their way to meet another couple for dinner.  At times, though, this film goes for the easy, cliché laugh, which makes it not quite work on all levels.  Also, there isn't much chemistry between the two leads, and I really began to wonder what the attraction was between the two in the beginning of the relationship. The film has an interesting supporting cast with Elijah Wood and Ari Graynor as some of the couple's friends who are trying to get them to realize that this living arrangement just isn't normal, and Emma Roberts, who stands out as a "Miley Cyrus" like actress who is a client of Celeste's.    My Rating: Cable   Celeste and Jessie Forever Website
Indiefest:   2 Days in New York (2012): Marion (Julie Delpy) and Mingus (Chris Rock) are living together in an apartment in New York and each have children from former relationships. Their world is turned upside down when Marion’s father (Albert Delpy), sister (Alexia Landeau) and her boyfriend, Manu (Alex Nahon), come from France for an extended visit. Trouble is stirred, as Manu was once Marion’s boyfriend and his presence only compounds Marion and Mingus’ relationship, and it's tested as never before. Chris Rock is the highlight of this film giving a very restrained performance of a radio host trying to hold on to his sanity as this French invasion threatens his family's home life. Albert Delpy, Julie Delpy's real life father, is fun to watch as he blusters his way across the NYC streets, and Julie Delpy is excellent as the beautiful, but slightly kooky artist, who fights with her sister at a moment’s notice and then acts as if nothing is out of the ordinary. This is a smart, funny film that is the perfect sequel to Delpy's 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   2 Days in New York Website
Indiefest:  Cosmopolis (2012) A 28 year old billionaire (Robert Pattinson) sets out in his stretch limousine across New York City to get a haircut. By the time he arrives at the barbershop, he encounters a number of people and one who is trying to kill him. This is another one of those films that some critics are going to love (like last week's reviewed film Killer Joe) but that I hated. Directed by David Cronenberg, who is known to do some strange films (Naked Lunch, existent), along with some more mainstream films (The Fly, Crash, A Dangerous Method), this film is more like a stage play where characters come into the limo and get into heavy, philosophical discussions about wealth, money and power while the limo slowly moves across the NYC streets. Fans of Pattinson's Twilight series are going to be disappointed in the lack of plot and the fact that his character doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. This is one of those films that you never know whether the film is set in reality or in the imagination of the main character and, in my case, I ended not caring which - I just wanted the film to hurry up and end.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Cosmopolis Webiste
Forgotten Film:   The War of the Worlds (1953)  Made at the midst of the cold war, this classic Sci-Fi film holds up rather well, even if at times you can see a few wires hanging from the Mars invaders.   Set in California, the local residents of a small town are mesmerized by a giant meteor, that is until the it turns out that the meteor contains an alien force that sets out to kill anything in its way.  Gene Barry plays, Dr. Forrester, a visiting scientist, who tries to discover a weakness to help defeat the  over power alien force.  Producer George Pal was a master at taking modest budgeted films and making them look like the big Hollywood productions and this film, with is lush colors, great lighting and incredible aliens looks like a film that was ahead of its time.  The storyline keeps moving and the action/special effects (other than the wires visible in a couple of shots) are way ahead of their time.  For those of you with kids, this is a fine introduction into the wonderful world of Science Fiction filmmaking.    My Rating:  Full Price    the War of the Worlds Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Expendables 2: Trailer Cleaning Ladies

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Words (2012) A successful writer (Bradley Cooper), who is widely popular, is discovered to have stolen someone else's work. Now he must deal with the consequences and try to make amends. Also stars Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde and Dennis Quaid.   The Words Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Family Faire:  The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012)  Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play Cindy and Jim Green, a couple who have been told by doctors that they will never get pregnant. Jim and Cindy get a little drunk, write down their wishes for the infant they never will have and bury the box in the garden. Then something magical happens as Timothy shows up on their doorstep. Timothy was born in the garden. This is an enjoyable family film that will make you laugh and will tug at your heart strings.  Sure, it’s a little sappy, but sometimes that’s okay. CJ Adams does an excellent job as Timothy Green, a boy who is caught up in the wonder of the world around him. Jennifer Garner is outstanding as the young mother who tries to cope with the situation.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Odd Life of Timothy Green Website
My View:   Sparkle (2012)  Set in the 1960’s, three sisters form a Motown singing group, but fame has a heavy price, and Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) is seeing her family fall apart right before her eyes. While Sparkle is writing her songs, it’s her sister, named Sister (Carmen Ejogo), who has center stage.  The other two sisters are backup for her, but she is a troubled soul and could make all their hopes and dreams come crashing down. The music is the best thing in this film (a lot of the original songs were written by R Kelly), which is a good thing because it makes you forget the plot is so full of clichés that you can see from a chorus away. Whitney Houston does sing one song in this film, and I sure some tears will be shed.   My Rating: Cable   Sparkle Website
Family Faire:  ParaNorman (2012)  Norman isn’t an ordinary boy – he can see dead people. In fact, Norman can’t just see them, he can interact with them. He is going to need this talent to help stop a legendary curse from destroying his town. This film is from the same group who did Coraline and it has that marvelous rich looking, stop-motion animation. The film starts off fresh and funny, especially when you can see the ghosts that Norman interacts with. The film bogs down at the end, with a confusing tale of a girl who is falsely accused of being a witch and now she has come back for revenge. I enjoyed this film, but it just didn’t have enough material to be a feature length film - it would have worked much better as a short. This film has some rather scary looking zombies and ghosts, so it’s not good for the 6 year-old and under group.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   ParaNorman Website
Indiefest:  Killer Joe (2012)  Chris (Emile Hirsch) is a man who is in debt to a local mobster. When he hears that his mom has a $50,000 life insurance policy, he plans to hire Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey), a hit man who happens to also be a police detective, to carry out the dirty deed. However, Killer Joe may want more than money to seal the deal. This is one of those films that some critics are going to love and some are going to hate. It is an ultra-violent film that doesn’t contain one redeeming character in it. My guess is that McConaughey just might get an Oscar nomination from this film.  McConaughey's that good in it, but one performance doesn’t make it a good movie. And, the last twenty minutes of this film is very graphic and bloody, making it very uncomfortable to watch.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Killer Joe Website
Indiefest: The Awakening (2012)  In 1921 England, Florence (Rebecca Hall) has dedicated her life to de-bunking the claims of paranormal activity. After exposing a fake séance, she is hired to investigate a ghost that is haunting a boarding school. This film starts out fun and entertaining as we see Florence exposed in a crooked séance, but, by the time we get to the boarding school, it becomes your run of the mill ghost story and not very scary at all. There is a huge twist in the film that I absolutely hated. I did like Rebecca Hall as the pants wearing, tough as nails investigator, but the film’s script lets her down in the end.   My Rating: Cable   The Awakening Website
Indiefest: Easy Money (2012) JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a college student who comes from a poor background and needs money to stay in school and keep up appearances. He becomes involved with a drug gang who are trying to set up the drug deal of a lifetime, and JW gets more and more involved with the deal. This Swedish film is interesting to watch as a we see the mob and it’s drug induced way of life aren’t just native to the US. Kinnaman does a first rate job as the college student who gets in way over his head and just might not be able to get out of a life and death situation. But it’s Kragomir Mrsic as the hit man/enforcer named Mrado who makes this film so compelling. He is a man of extreme violence but must temper it when given custody of his young daughter. Now, he must decide to stay in the mob and risk his daughter's life or try and get away.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Easy Money Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Sparkle: Piano Coach to Jordan Sparks

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Lawless (2012) Just the cast alone, Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, makes me want to see this film about bootleggers during the depression.   Lawless Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

My View: The Bourne Legacy (2012): Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg, and now, because of the trouble he caused, the men in charge have decided to shut down the program, and the other nine agents have been marked for death.  Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is no ordinary agent, and it’s going to take a lot to take him down.  I liked Jeremy Renner in this film and, as we also saw in MI3: Ghost Protocol, he can handle action films really well,  and I loved Rachel Weisz as the scientist who teams up with Aaron.  If you haven’t seen the other Bourne films, though, especially the third film, The Bourne Ultimatum, you will get very confused with the plot.  I didn't like the final chase sequence as its direction seemed to take some short cuts, and the ending to the sequence is abrupt and unsatisfying. Ultimately, I thought Renner was let down with very weak script.   My Rating: Cable  The Bourne Legacy
My View: Hope Springs (2012): After 31 years of marriage, things have gotten a little stale in Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold’s (Tommy Lee Jones) relationship.  Kay convinces her husband to go to an intense, week-long marriage counseling retreat run by therapist, Dr. Feld (Steve Carell). This is a smart, funny film made for adults. I loved Tommy Lee Jones in this film as it’s nice to see him act like a normal person instead of some of his way over the top roles. And, of course, Meryl is incredible and displays great emotional range throughout the film.  Carell is probably the weakest link in this film, but he’s not really asked to do much more than just guide the couple through the experience. If you are tired of all the stupid comedies that seem to be made for 15 year-olds, then this is your film.   My Rating: Full Price  Hope Springs Website 
My View: The Campaign (2012): Long term Congressman, Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), is used to running his re-elections, unopposed. But that’s all going to change when Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) decides to leave his job as director of a local tourism center and enter the race. This is an R rated film and deservedly so.  It's very crass and has lots of sexual jokes and situations. For instance, when we first meet Cam at a political rally, he meets a woman and has sex with her in a port-a-potty.  There are some funny scenes in this movie, some of which involve a baby and a dog, but the film went for the easy joke too many times. I also felt that Zach's character was too similar to the funeral director whom Jack Black played in this year’s film, Bernie.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Campaign Website
Forgotten Film: Electric Dreams (1984) Lenny von Dohlen plays Miles, who has just bought a state of the art computer. One night, Miles spills champagne on the computer, and the next day the computer comes to life as Edgar. Edgar, though, still in computer form, becomes Miles' best friend, but that soon changes when a beautiful neighbor, Madeline (Virginia Madsen), enters the picture. Miles is instantly attracted to Madeline, but there is just one problem:  Edgar is also interested in Madeline and will do just about anything to keep Miles from getting the girl.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Electric Dreams Info   
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD): Marley (2012) I enjoyed this documentary on the reggae legend, Bob Marley. The film includes archival concert footage and interviews with Marley’s family, friends and former band members. The concert footage shows what a great and powerful performer he was.  My Rating: Full Price   Marley Website
Weird Credit: From the credits of The Campaign: Uggie provided by
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Awakening (2012) Rebecca Hall stars in this film about a woman in 1920’s England whose life's work is to de-bunk paranormal events.  She is hired to investigate a boarding school that is supposed to be haunted by a young boy who died there.   The Awaking Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Total Recall

My View: Total Recall (2012) Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker who is unhappy with his boring life and decides to visit Rekall, a company that, for a price, offers artificial memories of the life you wished you had lived.  Douglas, though, learns that he has a past life, a past that someone or something doesn’t want him to remember, and his new recollection could lead to his death. Think of this film as not a remake of the 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it's more of a re-tooling of the film with some changes in the storyline.  I like Farrell as the man who has a hidden past, but it’s Kate Beckinsale who makes this film watchable. She is non- stop action with an attitude, and it's just a blast to watch her kick butt all over the screen. The film is a little too long and gets somewhat confusing, but it’s a good popcorn film to end the summer.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Total Recall Website
Indiefest: Ruby Sparks (2012) Calvin (Paul Dano) is a writer whose first and only book was released ten years ago, and now he is struggling to write his newest book. Inspired by a dream, he begins writing about a girl whom he names Ruby Sparks. Calvin’s life changes when he realizes that what he writes becomes real, including Ruby and her adventures. Zoe Kazan stars as Ruby (Kazan also wrote the screenplay) and is marvelous in the part of the woman that Calvin creates. The first 30 minutes of this film are really clever and amusing. The witty and clever film gets a little bogged down when it becomes more serious, but I did like the ending.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ruby Sparks Website
Family Faire: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012) Greg (Zachary Gordon), Rowley (Robert Capron) and the rest of the gang are back as school is out for summer break.  Greg’s big plans have fallen through.  So, now what’s a kid to do for a whole summer? You will like this film if you are six years old and under, and any adult will just hate this stupid and unfunny film.  Greg is a whiny kid who ends up lying to just about everybody to impress the girl whom he secretly admires. Let’s hope that now that the cast has grown up and no longer fit the parts, these films will stop being made.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Website
Forgotten Film: The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) A Bushman named Xixo (N!xau) finds a Coca-Cola bottle in the desert (it was dropped from the air by a pilot flying a plane), and he has never seen anything like it. He believes that God has given him this object, and after his fellow Bushman fight over the object, he decides to travel to the end of the earth and give the bottle back to God.  On his journey, Xixo meets rebels trying to take over a country, a school teacher who has gone toBotswana to follow her dream of educating  children and a clumsy biologist who tries, in the worst way, to meet and date the school teacher. This is a funny and smart film that treats Xixo and his ways with reverence. The romance between the biologist and the school teacher is charming, and the film ends with a satisfying big finish.   My Rating: Full Price  The Gods Must be Crazy Website 
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD): Detention (2011) I absolutely loved this strange film, a comedy where the student body of a high school deals with an axe-wielding serial killer named Cinderhella, who slowly kills off students. This rarely seen film is funny and has just about everything in it including spaceships, aliens, time travel and possibly the end of the world.  As I said in my review, “Any film that has a bear boarding a space ship can’t be at all bad."   My Rating: Full Price   Detention Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): The Possession (2012) A young girl finds a box at a yard sale with a bad spirit living in it that eventually possesses  the girl.  Another kid-possessed movie...just what the world needs.   The Possession Website

Weird Credit: From the credits of Total Recall: Piano Coach

Coming Soon to A Theatre Near You:  For a Good Time, Call… (2012) Two former school enemies (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) are forced to live together in an apartment. To make money, they join forces and start a phone sex line. Ari Graynor is going to be a big star, especially if she keeps making good comedies like this one.   For a Good Time Call Website
Until Next Time!