Friday, November 30, 2012


My View: Hitchcock (2012) Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) feels that, at 60 years old, he is unappreciated and that others think of him as over-the-hill. So, Hitchcock decides to make a movie, at the reluctant urging of his wife, Alma (Helen Mirren), using his own money – a little film called, “Psycho.” While this film is about the making of Psycho, it’s really a love story between Alfred and Alma. Hopkins is perfect as Hitchcock and gets his voice and his mannerisms down to perfection, and Mirren is amazing in the role of the woman behind the man. Scarlett Johansson does a brilliant job of portraying one of the big stars of the time, Janet Leigh. You won’t learn much about filmmaking when you watch this film,  but you will learn a lot about the man named, Hitchcock.   My Rating: Full Price   Hitchcock Website
My View: The Collection (2012) Arkin (Josh Stewart) is the only person to escape from a serial killer named, “The Collector.” The Collector likes to entrap his victims and then take them to maze-like buildings full of deadly traps.  A young woman named, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), has been kidnapped, and it’s up to Arkin to rescue her. This is a bloody and violent film, to be sure, but its portrayal of the deaths are not drawn out (as they are in the Saw series) and some of them are rather creative. I feel that this film has a little more intelligence to it than the run-of-the-mill slasher film. The story moves very quickly, and I really enjoyed the ending, which is sure to set up the next film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Collection Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#12 Worst Film
Myra Breckinridge (1970) Meant to be controversial and sexy at the time, this film about a man who wants to have a sex change operation, is just silly and stupid. Rex Reed (a well-known film critic at the time) plays Myron, the man who wants to get the sex change. When he does, he is turned into Raquel Welch’s character, Myra Breckinridge. This film is boring and badly acted, with old time Hollywood stars like Mae West, Andy Devine, and John Huston overacting as if their life depended on it. The only fun thing about this film is the small parts that Farrah Fawcett and Tom Selleck have.    Myra Breckinridge Info
Forgotten Film: Cactus Flower (1969) Dr. Julian Winston (Walter Matthau) is a playboy who uses the made-up excuse that he is married to get out of commitments to other women. That is until he meets Toni (Goldie Hawn), who, despite his best intentions, he falls in love with.  After using the marriage ruse, though, he must convince his long time dental assistant, Stephanie (Ingrid Bergman) to pose as his wife who wants a divorce. Goldie Hawn won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in this film, but it’s Ingrid Bergman who makes this it so much fun to watch as she gives her roles depth and warmth, creating a character that you want to root for.   My Rating:  Full Price   Cactus Flower Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):   Men in Black 3   I like but did not love this film, but I do think Josh Brolin’s portrayal of a younger Tommy Lee Jones was well done. It’s a fun ride and somewhat clever, but it’s just not up to the original.   My Rating: Full Price   Men in Black 3 Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Parental Guidance (2012) Billy Crystal and Bette Midler agree to take care of their three grandkids when their parents need to be out of town for work. There isn’t one funny line in a rather lengthy trailer - just lots of Billy being hit in the crotch.    Parental Guidance Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Hitchcock: Scarlett Johansson photo double

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Peter Jackson is back at the director’s spot, making this prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Will this be more Oscar worthy stuff from him?    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Website
Until Next Time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

My Review:  Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Pat (Bradley Cooper) has lost just about everything – his wife, his job and his house. After spending eight months at a court mandated mental institution, he returns to his childhood home to get his life back on track and lives in the attic, a small cramped space above his parents’ (Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver) room. At a dinner party thrown by his best friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Victoria (Julia Stiles), he meets Victoria’s sister, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widow. At the dinner table the two discover they have something in common – they are both struggling with mental problems. And so begins an unlikely friendship. This is a funny, moving film that deals with a problem that many people and many characters in this film struggle to understand – mental illness. Director David O. Russell does a masterful job of keeping the right touch of laughter combined with the scary reality offamily and friends dealing with a person who isn’t always stable. This film drags a little until Tiffany’s appearance at a dinner party, where she and Pat argue about what drugs they have both taken to treat their illnesses. Lawrence brings both an energy and a vulnerability to the screen, driving the story along, and sometimes at break neck speed. The film has an incredible cast with Julia Stiles, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker shows a wonderful comic touch as Pat’s friend from the institution. This film is worth your time and money, especially for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, a sure Oscar nominating role.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Silver Linings Playbook Website
My View:  Life of Pi (2012) A young man survives a shipwreck only to be lost at sea on a large lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. Now he must survive using his wits and the teachings of his father. This is a film that you need to see in theatres because its beauty almost spills off the screen. Suraj Sharma plays Pi, and he gives a multilayer performance. The Tiger is mostly animated, but it's so well done that you never question its authenticity. This is deeply spiritual film and shows a young man embracing his religious beliefs to make it through this disaster. And, after seeing this film, you will want to talk about it.   My Rating: Full Price    Life of Pi Website
My View: Red Dawn (2012) When Washington state is invaded by North Koreans, a group of teenagers, led by a marine (Chris Hemsworth) who is home off leave, take matters into their own hands and start fighting back using tactics from the more famous insurgent groups of the past. This film lets the viewers down on almost every aspect including its horrible direction with action sequences done with camera work so shaky that, at times, you have no idea what is happening. Chris Hemsworth gives almost no emotional range in this film with his very wooden performance. The original film was fun and full of life, but this film is dull and boring.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again.    Red Dawn Website
Family Faire: Rise of the Guardians (2012) When the evil spirit, Pitch (voiced by Jude Law), attacks Earth, the Immortal Guardians fight to protect the children. In this wonderfully animated film, the Guardians are made up of Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Sandman (who doesn't talk), and The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). Jack Frost (Chris Pine) has been asked to join the group, and he may be key to defeating Pitch and his plan to conquer the world. I really liked this film with its animation and use of 3-D to great effect. It's a funny, fun film to watch with a new take on all of our childhood heroes. I especially enjoyed Alec Baldwin as a tattooed, sword wielding Santa Claus and Jude Law as the delightfully evil Pitch.    My Rating: Full Price    
Indiefest:  Anna Karenina (2012) In 19th century Russia, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is a married woman with a small boy and is living a content life with her aristocratic husband. Then she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) with whom she proceeds to have an affair, and it’s a relationship that will change her life and the lives of everyone around her. This is a beautiful film that is worth seeing for the interesting staging that the director, Joe Wright, uses - characters interacting with each other on a theatre stage. As the cast move from scene to scene, the stage transforms behind them in an almost magical ways, becoming a ballroom one moment and a train station in another. Keira Knightley does a touching job as Anna, but it's Aaron Taylor-Johnson who steals the film as the brash Count Vronsky.    My Rating: Full Price    Anna Karenina Website
Forgotten Film: Baby Boom (1987) J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is a high powered businesswoman so dedicated to her job that she is known as the “tiger lady."  She is happy in her career making big deals in New York City and living with her boyfriend when her world is changed.  A relative dies, and J.C. is given their baby. She, at first, tries to handle the job and the baby, but. after losing a big promotion, she decides to shake things up and move to a small town in Vermont. There she finds that the country life she has always envisioned doesn’t quite meet up to her expectations. Keaton gives a funny and smart performance and has great chemistry with her love interest in the film, the local vet, played by Sam Shepard. The film is full of rich, wonderful characters which make it one you will want to see over and over again.    My Rating: Full Price    Baby Boom Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Rise of the Guardians: Ethnic Percussion

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: This is 40 (2012) Judd Apalow’s sequel, sort of, to Knocked Up, with Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, and Melissa McCarthy. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl are not in this film, which is probably a good thing.   This is 40 Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

My View:  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) After the birth of their daughter, Renesmee, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) gather up the Cullen Vampire clan to protect their child. Irina (Maggie Grace) feels that Renesmee, whose miraculous birth, is a threat to the Volturi, so they set out to kill the child. Now the ultimate battle is about to go down. This isn’t saying much, but this is the best Twilight film. It has the usual beginning of any of the Twilight films, lots of setup with very little action, lots of corny scenes between Bella and Edward (that even my audience full of Twihard fanatics laughed at), and if you haven’t seen any of the other Twilight films, don’t start with this one as you will be completely confused. I thoroughly enjoyed the big battle sequence near the end, but there is a major flaw with this film (that I can’t discuss without giving out spoilers) that really ruined the ending for me.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Website
My View Lincoln (2012) As the Civil War continues, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is determined to pass the 13th amendment and battles Congress as well as his own cabinet to abolish slavery. The film is only about the last few months before Lincoln’s second term is to start, so don’t expect a lot of setup from this film as it expects that you know most of the history of the Civil War and of Lincoln, himself. Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible in this performance, though it does take a little getting used to his voice, which is sort of high pitched. The rest of the cast does a remarkable job, including Sally Field as Mary Todd, David Strathairn as Secretary of State Seward and Tommy Lee Jones as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. I really enjoyed the performances of James Spader and John Hawkes, as they try and muster votes for the amendment by just about any means possible. The film is beautifully shot, and its score fits perfectly with what we are seeing on the screen. Steven Spielberg has done a great job in capturing one of our country's  most trying times.  My Rating: Full Price   Lincoln Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#`13 Best Film
North By Northwest (1959) In this classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a New York advertising executive who is mistaken for a government agent by some foreign spies. As he travels across the country, he meets a woman on a train, Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who begins to help him with his quest to find out why he has been targeted. The film contains many of the iconic Hitchcock scenes, including the crop-duster scene where Thornhill is attacked by a dusting plane, and the film concludes with a major battle on top of Mt. Rushmore between Thornhill and the bad guy. Grant is at his absolute best, and there is a great deal of chemistry between him and Eva Marie Saint.   My Rating: I Would Pay To See it Again   North by Northwest Info
Forgotten Film:  Silver Streak (1976) A mild-mannered book editor (Gene Wilder) takes a cross country train trip. While on the train, he thinks he sees a murder committed, but there isn’t any evidence and no one believes him. He decides to investigate on his own and becomes the next target of the killer. This is a very funny film with superb performances by Wilder and, in a smaller role, Richard Pryor. Jill Clayburgh plays the romantic interest of Wilder, and their meeting on the train is one of my favorite romantic/flirting scenes between two leads in all of movies. The dialogue in this film is witty and fast, and while some of the comedy is a little over the top, it still makes for a highly enjoyable film.   My Rating: Full Price  Silver Streak Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Arthur Christmas (2011) I liked this animated film about Santa, who is getting ready to retire, and his two sons, one of which will follow in his footsteps. The humor in the film plays to both adults and kids, and the storyline is perfect for the holidays.  My Rating: Full Price   Arthur Christmas Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Lincoln: Facial Hair Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Zero Dark Thirty (2012) Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow brings to the screen the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his eventual death by SEAL Team 6. Chris Pratt, Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton fill out the cast on this highly anticipated film.   Zero Dark Thirty Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 9, 2012


My View:   Skyfall (2012)   James Bond (Daniel Craig) must get back to basics to save M (Judi Dench) from a former spy (Javier Bardem) who is out to kill her and destroy MI6. This is a down and dirty, no frills James Bond film, with the exception of the open chase sequence (which is spectacular). It’s a film that is more about characters than gadgets, and James is questioning whether he can continue to be 007, both physically and mentally.  Craig gives us a much more layered performance than in past Bond films, and Javier Bardem is amazing as the complex , former spy who is now out to destroy MI6. I loved this film, with one of the best Bond villains ever, and even if you aren’t a James Bond fan, you will like it.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Skyfall Website
Indiefest:  A Late Quartet (2012) A world-renowned string quartet is faced with a number of issues, including a possible life altering illness that may cause the group to break-up. Christopher Walken plays the leader of the quartet, the man who founded it some 25 years ago. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener play members of the quartet who are also married. And, Mark Ivanir plays the fourth member of the string group, a man who is as brash and confident in his life as he is in his playing . While the performances of the four are excellent, the standout actress in this film is Imogen Poots who plays an up-and-coming violinist whose parents are the Hoffman and Keeners characters. The acting makes this film worth seeing, but I feel the script let the actors down a little bit, going, too many times, for the easy cliché, which made the film somewhat predictable.    My Rating : Bargain Matinee    A Late Quartet Info
Indiefest:  Smashed (2012) Married couple Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), whose love is built on their drinking habits, are tested when Kate decides to get sober. This is one of those films that is very hard to watch, just because the characters go through so much pain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is outstanding as Kate, who lies at a drop of a hat to cover up her drinking but realizes, after waking up too many times in strange places, that she must change her life. Aaron Paul doesn’t do a bad performance as her husband, but this is Winstead’s movie, and she runs with it. You truly hope that she can get her life together, but you also know that it’s going to take some major changes and sacrifices, including, probably, the sacrifice of her marriage.    My Rating: Full Price   Smashed Info
Forgotten Film: Charade (1963) Audrey Hepburn is Regina, a woman who is about to divorce her husband when he turns up murdered. She finds out that during World War II, her husband was in on a heist to steal $250,000 in gold. Now the men that were in on the heist want the money, and they think Regina has it. She meets a mysterious stranger, Peter (Cary Grant) who is either going to help her, or could be part of the gang that wants the money. This is a fast, funny film with a little suspense thrown in, that has some of the best banter between a couple (Hepburn and Grant) since the screwball comedies of the thirties.   My Rating: Full Price    Charade Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film just Released on DVD): The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) I enjoyed this retelling of the orgins of Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield playing the Peter Parker role. But, it was Emma Stone who made this movie such a joy to watch. She is perfect in the role of Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first love. My biggest problem with the film was that it took too long to get going (it’s almost 20 minutes into the story before Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider), but Stone makes it all worthwhile.   My Rating: Full Price   The Amazing Spider-Man Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Skyfall: Special effects teeth

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Anna Karenina (2012)  Keira Knightley and Jude Law doing a film written by playwright, Tom Stoppard, directed by Joe Wright, who has already shown that he can do a costume drama (Pride & Prejudice) - count me in.    Anna Karenina Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 2, 2012


My View:  Flight (2012) Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an airline pilot whose quick thinking and brave flying saves a plane and its passengers from a fiery death. But when the authorities begin an investigation into the crash, questions arise and Whip comes under the microscope. This is Denzel’s movie, as he is on-screen almost the whole film and his performance is certainly Oscar quality. The crash sequence is absolutely the best one I have ever seen.  You really feel like you are a part of the flight. John Goodman makes a couple of brief appearances in the film as one of Whip’s buddies, and he takes over those scenes with humor that only Goodman can do. I do feel, though, that the script is a little lacking.  It’s too long, full of clichés that you generally anticipate and there is just too much of Denzel’s character brooding about in rooms. But the film is worth seeing because of Denzel and the crash scenes.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Flight Website
My View:  Cloud Atlas (2012) A tale that takes place over hundreds of years where the action of one person affects the lives of many in the present and in the future. If someone commits a horrible act in one life, can that person be redeemed by committing acts of kindness in their future lives? First off, pack a lunch because this movie is 172 minutes long. It’s a film that you have to pay close attention to because it does a lot of moving about from one time period to another, sometimes very abruptly. Each of the main actors play 5 to 6 characters in the film, and sometimes the makeup is so well done, you can’t tell which actor is portraying certain parts. It’s a gorgeous film, and there are quite a few action sequences to keep the film moving. While I did appreciate the film, and I really liked certain portions of the film, I found that it’s not a film that I want to ever experience again, because while I did enjoy the ending and how everything connected together, it just wasn’t that overwhelming of an experience that it should have been.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Cloud Atlas Website
IndiefestThe Sessions (2012) Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes) contracted polio at age 7. It’s the mid-80’s in San Francisco. Mark is now 38 and spends most of his time in an iron lung with almost no muscle control in his body. Mark has tried to start relationships with women, but has never found anyone who is willing to take a chance on him. Mark decides that time is running out for him, and he wants to lose his virginity, so he enlists counsel of his priest (William H. Macy) and the help of a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to accomplish his goal. It’s a goal that will not only change Mark’s life but will change the lives of so many people who know him. This is one of the better films of the year with incredible performances by Hawkes and Hunt, with Hawkes giving his performance with just his voice and his eyes. The film is based on a true story and is about 80 percent accurate, with the poems in the film written by the real Mark O’Brien. I am warning you that there are lots of nudity, and you do see the sex acts between Hawkes and Hunt, but they are tastefully done, with the scenes between the two characters filled with humor and warmth.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Sessions Website
IndiefestThe Details (2012) A family of raccoons has decided that Dr. Jeffrey Lang’s (Tobey Maguire) beloved backyard is the perfect feeding ground. Dr. Lang becomes obsessed with ridding his yard of the pests, by any means necessary. This war on the raccoons could destroy his yard…and his marriage. This is a dark comedy where Maguire’s character just gets caught up in more and more bad things, some are his fault, some the fault of others. Elizabeth Banks plays his wife, who seems to be the perfect wife until you see that their marriage is just about appearances, much like the yard that Maguire’s character obsesses about. Laura Linney is sensational in the role of the crazy neighbor, who becomes the key to all that happens to Maguire’s character. This isn’t a great film, but it does have some really creative scenes and a cast that is worth watching.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Details Info
Forgotten FilmFreaks (1932) This film, directed by Tod Browning (Dracula), is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. A beautiful trapeze artist, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), finds out that Hans, a little person working in the circus, is about to inherit a lot of money. She sets her sights on him and manipulates him into wedding proposal, all the while she is having an affair with the Circus strongman, Hercules (Henry Victor). Most of the cast is made of up of actual sideshow performers, such as Siamese Twins and Human Skeleton. When the sideshow performers find out that Cleopatra is just using Hans for his money, they set out for revenge. The ending of this film must be seen to be believed.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee Freaks Info 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Flight:   Addiction Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLife of Pi (2012) The story of an Indian boy name Pi, who, after a ship he was on is sunk in a storm, finds himself on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. I know it sounds weird, but it’s directed by Ang Lee, and the word is that this is a magical film.    Life of Pi Website
Until Next Time!