Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

My View:  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty  (2013)  PG  Walter (Ben Stiller) works in a very ordinary job at Life magazine and has a crush on Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), a fellow co-worker.  Walter has never been anywhere or done anything, but he does day-dream constantly about going on fantastic adventures.  He gets his opportunity to live his dream when a negative of a photograph goes missing, and he takes off on an adventure to find the world famous photographer (Sean Penn). I really enjoyed this smart, uplifting film.  The script does a remarkable job of not letting the film get cheesy or schmaltzy.  I loved the soundtrack in this film, and it helped move the story along. The scenery of the film is a sight to be seen, and there are some cool CGI special effects when Walter is in one of his numerous daydreams.  The opening credits of the film are some of the most imaginative credits I’ve seen in quite a while. There is nice chemistry between Stiller and Wiig, making the romance between to the two of them feel real and never forced.  Stiller does a superb job of playing the everyman who wants to break out of his shell.  While not a great film, it’s a fun, enjoyable film with a message.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Website
My View:  The Wolf of Wall Street  (2013)  R  Based on a true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who rises from nothing to become a major player in the New York Stock Exchange, only to be brought down by a large securities fraud case.  DiCaprio is unbelievably great in this 3 hour comedy directed by Martin Scorsese.  DiCaprio shows a great comedic timing, especially working well off of Jonah Hill, who plays Jordan Belfort’s right hand man.  There is a scene near the end of the film that involve some stairs and a car, where DiCaprio has to do physical comedy that reminded me of Buster Keaton and Steve Martin.  There is an incredible cameo by Matthew McConaughey, playing a stockbroker that Belfort patterns his life from.  This is a film that not everyone will like due to the excess of drugs, profanity, and nudity (of which there is an incredible amount).  I liked the film and really enjoyed the performances of the actors, but I was let down by the script, which never quite jelled the storyline together for me.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Wolf of Wall Street Website

My View:  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) PG-13  The remarkable story of Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) who changed a country and the world forever.  This film tells Nelson Mandela's life story from his childhood to his inauguration as the President of South Africa.  Idris Elba is the reason to see this film, and he fills the screen with Mandela’s spirit, passion and purpose. While Elba doesn’t really resemble Mandela physically, he perfectly mimics his diction and mannerisms. The film, though, doesn’t give Elba much to work with as the actor is much better than the script.  This is a movie that should have had me on the verge of tears several times, but I never felt very involved with the film.  I think the film covers too much ground and does a poor job of showing how hard prison life was on Mandela. Unfortunately this is a film that doesn’t live up to the greatness of the man it is depicting.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Website

Forgotten Film:  The Ruling Class  (1972)  R  Jack Gurney (Peter O’Toole) becomes the 14th Earl of Gurney.  The problem is that Jack is a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks he is God and has a habit of breaking out into a song and dance routine.  To keep the family out of scandal, his relatives decide that they must steal his estate from him.  Jack fights back the only way he knows, by becoming Jack the Ripper.  Peter O’Toole shines in this black comedy that has so many twists and turns to it, you just might need a flow chart to keep up.  He is an absolute delight to watch as he tears about the screen causing mayhem and madness.  The film was a failure at the box office but has become a cult classic that illustrates just how much we will miss O’Toole on the silver screen.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Ruling Class Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): About Last Night (2014)  Why does Hollywood insist on remaking films that weren’t that good to begin with?  The 1986 film of the same name was an excuse just to put fellow brat-packers Rob Lowe and Demi Moore together.  Comedian Kevin Hart stars in the remake.  About Last Night Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray): The Lone Ranger (2013) PG-13  One of the worst films of the year.  The film is too long, never captures the audience's imagination, and the last big chase scene is entirely too confusing to make any sense.  It’s sad when I enjoyed the acting of the horse more than any actor in the film.  My Rating:  Cable  The Lone Ranger Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:  Facial Hair Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Winter’s Tale  (2014)  PG-13  In 1916, a thief breaks into a mansion and encounters a dying woman.  He soon falls in love with her, only to have her die.  He learns that he has the gift of reincarnation and seeks to find her in the present day.  Cast includes Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, and William Hurt.  Winter's Tale Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

My ViewAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)  PG-13 Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) had it all – a good anchor job and a hot anchor wife (Christina Applegate). Then his marriage fell apart, and he got fired from his job. Now, down on his luck, Ron gets an offer from a 24- hour cable news channel. It’s time to get the old gang back together and take New York City… Ron Burgundy style.  It’s hard to create lightning in the bottle twice, and this movie just doesn’t match the comedic standards that the first Anchorman set.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some very funny scenes in this film (the scene in the Winnebago is hilarious), but the film was a let down due to lack of funny scenes.  I think one of the big mistakes the film makes is it elevates Brick, the daffy weatherman played by Steve Carell, giving him a storyline where he romances an equally daffy secretary played by Kristen Wiig.  Their first meeting is very funny, but their storyline just doesn’t go anywhere, and their scenes become stale very quickly.  Fans of the first film will have a good time with this movie, but I think no one will be quoting any lines.  There is a bonus scene at the end of the credits, but it’s really not worth staying for.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Website

My ViewAmerican Hustle (2013)  R  When Irving (Christian Bale) met Sydney (Amy Adams), it was love at first sight, and they fit together perfectly, especially in Irving’s line of work, con man. But, when the two unknowingly con an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), their luck just might have run out.  This is one of those films where the actors are better than the script.  Bale gives another one of his chameleon-like performances, playing an overweight con-man with a comb-over that must be seen to believed.  Bale is enjoyable to watch in the film, but I think this part didn't really challenge him.  The film seems disjointed as it just doesn’t flow from one scene to another.  It seemed as though each scene was done as an acting exercise on its own, making the film seem to start and stop many times.  I loved Jeremy Renner, with his “Goodfellas” hairdo, playing a local mayor who gets involved in a scandal that could ruin his career.  I just wish that Amy Adams' con-woman character had been the lead character instead of Bale's character as Sydney as the most interesting and complex character in the film.  I love Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, but I think this performance is not worthy of an Academy Award - it’s just too easy for her to play this part.  This is a film that will make a lot of critics' top ten lists, but while  it’s a good film, just not a great one.  My Rating:  Full Price  American Hustle Website

IndiefestInside Llewyn Davis (2013) R  Llewyn Davis (Oscar Issac) is a struggling folk musician, who, after his musical partner dies, attempts to make it as a solo act by playing at clubs around the Greenwich Village area in the 1961.  Llewyn doesn’t do too well and has to sleep on the couches of his friends and family.  It seems that Llewyn, while a talented artist, is his own worst enemy as he continually burns bridges with the people who love and admire him the most.  Llewyn finally realizes that he must deal with the fact that his dream of being a musician may just not be in his reach.  Issac gives an outstanding performance of a handsome guy who has a great many demons inside him, making him, at the same time, sympathetic and unlikeable. As with any Coen film, there is a lot of humor, brought mostly through the situations that Llewyn gets himself into, including a number of scenes with a cat that he gets stuck with and has to take on his travels.  Supporting characters are always important in Coen brothers films, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Carey Mulligan plays a fellow folk singer whose contempt for Llewyn is shown just by the deadly glances she gives him each time they meet.   John Goodman, of course, makes an appearance as an over-the-hill jazz musician, and F. Murray Abraham plays a club owner who can make or break Llewyn’s career.  Justin Timberlake plays the almost “anti-Llewyn,” a happy folk singer who writes catchy pop songs, the kind that Llewyn feels are beneath his standards. The music in this film is outstanding, most of which was recorded on set as the cameras were rolling, including the Justin Timberlake song “Mr. Kennedy,” which makes for an incredibly funny recording session.   “Inside Llewyn Davis” is sure to please the Coen brothers’ fans and lovers of folk music as  the film gives us an inside view of the music scene that was to shape a generation.  My Rating:  Full Price  Inside Llewyn Davis Website

FamilyfaireSaving Mr. Banks  (2013)  PG-13  Author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) created one of the world’s most beloved literary characters, Mary Poppins. Now, none other than Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wants to turn her book into a musical film. Will Mrs. Travers turn over her creation to the man who built an empire with a mouse?  This is an interesting movie that gives us the behind the scenes creation of one the most beloved musicals that Disney ever created.  Tom Hanks is fun to watch as Disney, and Emma Thompson, as always, is amazing as the very set-in-her-ways author.  What I didn’t like about this picture is that, throughout the film, we flash back to Travers' childhood where Mary Poppins took root.  I would have preferred the flashback to open the film amd not go back and forth showing us the origins of her creation in piecemeal.  For fans of Mary Poppins, the film will be very enjoyable.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Saving Mr. Banks Website

FamilyfaireWalking With Dinosaurs 3-D  (2013)  PG  Patchi (Justin Long) is the runt of his family of Pachyrhinosaurus. Patchi is about to go on a big adventure with his big brother, Scowler (Skyler Stone), and his best friend, Juniper (Tiya Sircar).  This is a beautiful film to watch that combines the live action footage of the countryside of Alaska and New Zealand with amazing 3-D animated dinosaurs that look extremely lifelike.  Unfortunately, producers have combined this wonderful footage with a storyline that only 5 year olds will enjoy.  The dinosaurs talk, though thankfully, their mouths don’t move.  The dialogue is campy, the storyline is incredibly simple and the humor in the film is painful.  I recommend that parents take some earplugs - you will enjoy it more with the sound off.  My Rating:  Cable  Walking with Dinosaurs 3-D Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of American Hustle:  stitcher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Monuments Men  (2014)  An unlikely group of American soldiers are given the task of rescuing some of the world’s greatest art from the retreating Nazi army in World War II.  The cast includes George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, and John Goodman.  The Monuments Men Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

My View:  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  (2013)  PG-13  Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves continue with the quest to defend Erebor, their home, from the Dragon Smaug.  This film moves at a much  brisker pace then the first Hobbit film, and the action sequences are quite enjoyable and well staged.  I loved Evangeline Lily as Tauriel, a new character who is a fierce, butt-kicking elf with an attitude.  She does the action sequences with gusto and flair, making her character very believable.  It is also nice to see Orlando Bloom return as the elf warrior, Legolas.  The scenes with the Dragon Smaug are fun to watch, and Benedict Cumberbatch does an outstanding job as the voice of the Dragon.  This film is worth seeing in 3-D as the many action sequences use the medium to its full effect.  I will warn you that the film is 161 minutes long, so pack a lunch.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Website
Indiefest:  The Armstrong Lie (2013) R  A documentary that covers seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and focuses on the accusations that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs and then lied about it.  Filmmaker Alex Gibney was given complete access to Armstrong’s 2009 comeback attempt at winning an 8th Tour, and he developed a rapport with Armstrong that continues to present day.  The film is a fascinating look at a man so driven to be the best, he was willing to do anything to get to the top and then fought dirty to stay there.  Armstrong is shown to be a man whom you support, or you are considered the enemy, and the film really brings this across.  This film gets much more in depth with the subject than the famous Oprah interview did and shows us a man trying to own up to his past downfalls.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Armstrong Lie Website

Forgotten Film:  Zero Effect (1998)  R  Darryl Zero (Bill Pullman) is the world’s greatest detective.  There's just one problem - Darryl won’t leave his apartment for anything.  So he hires Steve (Ben Stiller) to be his right-hand man who manages any activity that requires going out into the world.  The two are hired to investigate a blackmailing case, and, as the case widens, they get involved in a 20 year old mystery.  Pullman, in one of his best acting jobs, is brilliant as the odd Darryl.  Stiller works well with Pullman and is able to convey his wonder for his boss.  The film starts out as a comedy, but it’s a really a fine, well thought out detective film with a very quirky lead character.  It has a lot of twists and turns in the plot to make it a fun film to experience.  My Rating:  Full Price  Zero Effect website

In Memory of Ed Wood ( A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Legend of Hercules (2014)  It’s never a good sign when the lead actor in the film, in this case, Kellan Lutz, says only two lines in the 2 min 15 second trailer.  And, this film is directed by Renny Harlin, who hasn’t directed a good film since the 90’s.  The Legend of Hercules Website

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Fast & Furious 6  (2013)  PG-13  I surprisingly like this film, mostly because the guys in the Furious gang are portrayed as super heroes.  It’s a fun action-filled ride with big stunts and fast cars, plus, the longest runway the world has ever seen.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Fast & Furious 6 Webstite

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:  Horse makeup

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  One Chance  (2013) PG-13 The true story of a shy, bullied shop-worker who sings amateur opera at night.  He tries out for “Britain’s Got Talent” and gets on the show.  One Chance Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Indiefest:  The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013)   Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) is the leader of a bluegrass band. Elise (Veerie Baetens) is the owner of a tattoo shop. When the two meet, they instantly fall in love and soon after, get married. Their life seems perfect after the birth of their daughter, but their marriage is tested when their worst nightmare comes true.  The most amazing thing about this Belgium film is that all the singing in the film by Didier and Elise sounds as though it was coming from the state of Kentucky - it’s that good.  The film hits the extremes of this very intense couple who are played perfectly by Heldenbergh and Baetens.  You can see the attraction of the characters from the very start.  This is definitely one of those roller coaster rides of a film that has some extreme highs and even lower lows.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Broken Circle Breakdown Website
The 50  (A Movie from My Best/Worst Films of All Time) 
#5 Best Film:
Seven Samurai  (1954) A grizzled samurai (Toshiro Mifune) has fallen on hard times and takes the offer of some villagers to protect them from a gang of bandits.  He recruits six other samurai to help him, and they proceed to try train the villagers in the art of war.  When the bandits do arrive, the village and the seven samurai face almost impossible odds to overcome to protect their homeland.  The film is expertly directed by Akira Kurosawa, a master filmmaker who fills the screen with extraordinary shots that just seem to flow.  The action sequences are far better than any action film done in present day. The final battle scene is one of the most stunning pieces of cinema ever done.  Seven Samurai Info
Forgotten Film:  Beautiful Girls (1996)  R  Willie (Timothy Hutton) is a man at the crossroads of his life.  He must decide if he is going to quit playing the piano for a living and get a sales job.  Plus, he is trying to decide if he wants to marry his longtime girlfriend, Tracy (Annabeth Gish).  Willie uses the excuse of a high school reunion to go back to his small hometown to sort things out.  He finds that everyone he went to high school with still lives in the town and most seem to be stuck in the past.  Willie then meets Marty (Natalie Portman), literally the girl next door, who is smart, beautiful and instantly has a rapport with Willie.  The only problem, she is 13.  This is a fun movie to watch with great dialogue that feels real and a incredible ensemble cast that includes Matt Dillon, Lauren Holly, Mira Sorvino, and Uma Thurman.  It’s Natalie Portman, though, who makes this film a delight to watch as she perfectly plays Marty as the girl with the “old soul." My Rating:  Full Price  Beautiful Girls Info
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) The Paranormal franchise has gotten a little old, so they are doing a spinoff. I think only positive thing I see about this film is that it is only 84 minutes long.  Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Despicable Me 2 (2013) PG  Gru (Steve Carell), his adoptive girls (Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Kate Fisher, Diana Gaier) and the Minions are back! This time, Gru has tried to settle into a life of raising kids and staying out of trouble. Trouble, though, inevitably always finds Gru, and The Anti-Villain League recruits him to find a new super-criminal who has stolen a secret formula. Gru must now go undercover, with the help of AVL agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and work at a place in his worst nightmares, the local mall.  I enjoyed this film much more than the first Despicable Me mostly because it features the Minions more.  My Rating: Full Price  Despicable Me 2 Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Frozen:  Head of music preparation

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouHer  (2013)   A writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who is still mourning the breakup of his marriage and installs a new operating system on his computer that is designed to learn about him and respond to his needs.  Very soon he finds that he has fallen in love with his computer.  There is a big debate on whether Scarlett Johansson, who voices the computer he falls for, can be nominated for a supporting actress Academy Award.  Her Website
Until Next Time!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Family FaireFrozen  (2013)  PG   In the kingdom of Arendelle, there are two Princesses: Elsa (Idina Menzel), who is soon to be Queen and who has the strange ability to make snow and ice out of nothing, and her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell). When Elsa lets her emotions get the better of her, she accidentally triggers a magical winter that freezes the entire kingdom. Elsa, known now as the “Snow Queen,” goes into hiding, and Anna must set out on a journey with a mountain man named, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and a reindeer sidekick named, Sven, to find her sister and save the kingdom.  This the best Disney film in years with great songs, fun sidekicks and a winning cast.  Both Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel have beautiful singing voices, and several of the songs in the film are breakout hits.  The storyline has plenty of twists and turns, and the animation is eye-popping.  The film is worth seeing in 3-D if just for the opening animated short that is one of the best uses of 3-D animation that I have ever seen.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again

IndiefestPhilomena  (2013)  PG-13   In an effort to resurrect his journalistic career, Martin (Steve Coogan) agrees to do a human interest story on Philomena (Judi Dench), a woman who is searching for her son and whom she gave up for adoption almost 50 years ago. Judi Dench is amazing in this touching, and, at times, funny film.  Her portrayal of Philomena, a kind-hearted, religious woman who is determined to find her long lost son, is worthy of an Oscar.  She plays her part perfectly and matches up well with Coogan, who plays a hard-hearted journalist who is very full of himself and really thinks her sob story is beneath his talents.  As the film develops, Philomena’s charm works over Martin, and he comes to truly enjoy his time with her.  But, it’s Dench who is the film's star, and she carries it off beautifully.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  Philomena Website

IndiefestNebraska  (2013)  R  Woody (Bruce Dern) is convinced that he has won a million dollars and wants to travel from Montana, where he lives, to Nebraska to collect the winnings. Against the wishes of Woody’s wife, Kate (June Squibb), and brother, Ross (Bob Odenkirk), David (Will Forte), Woody’s youngest son, decides to take his father cross-country to the company that has issued the ticket.  This is a brilliant film and my favorite at this year’s Austin Film Festival.  Dern gives a performance of a lifetime as the broken down, alcoholic Woody.  We never really know what Woody is thinking as Dern plays him as a man of very little words.  Forte does a nice job playing the son who desperately wants to reconnect with his father.  June Squibb steals the film as Woody’s opinionated, speak-her-mind wife.  The film is a road trip film where the people don’t seem to ever move.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Nebraska Website

My ViewBlack Nativity  (2013)  PG  After Langston (Jacob Latimore) and his mom (Jennifer Hudson) have been evicted from their apartment, he is sent to New York City to spend the holidays with the Reverend Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) and his family. There Langston discovers the strength of family and friends.  This musical works much better when the cast is singing as both the dialouge and the storyline are very weak.  I did enjoy the songs, especially when Jennifer Hudson sang but that doesn't make up for the very predictable story.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Black Nativity Website

Forgotten FilmCitizen Ruth  (1997) Ruth (Laura Dern) is an unlikely poster child for the “Right to Life” movement.  She is a drug-sniffing addict who has had four children taken away from her, and the cops know her by name.  When she is arrested again, and a judge finds out that she is pregnant, he orders her to have an abortion.  A group called “Baby Savers” finds out about the judge’s order and they take up her cause.  She then becomes a pawn in the game between the Baby Savers and a pro-choice group.  This is a smart, and, at times, a very funny satire directed by Alexander Payne (The Descendants) that makes fun of both sides of the abortion battle.  Dern is brilliant as Ruth, who really doesn’t care about anything other than her next high.  The film is full of amazing performances and interesting characters who make this a fun film to watch.  My Rating:  Full Price  Citizen Ruth Info

Weird Credits:  From the film Philomena:  Snow effects floor supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues  (2013)  Just in time for Christmas, the further adventures of our favorite TV anchorman (Will Ferrell) who takes the gang to New York to be on a 24 hour news channel.  The big question:  Will we be quoting lines from this film as much as we do from the first?  Anchorman 2 Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

My ViewThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)  PG-13  Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have returned triumphantly from the Hunger Games. Their victory has sparked a rebellion, and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has made it his mission to squash the rebellion, even if it means the destruction of Katniss.  Just like the first film, this film is very similar to the book, including changing the color of the Prim’s cat from black and white in the first film to the correct shade of orange.  I think that the action sequences in this film are better than in the first film, and Lawrence does an brilliant job as the valiant Katniss.  I do think this film does not have the same emotional level that the first film had but that may be just because we now understand the world that Katniss is trying to survive in.  It is worth seeing it in IMAX, since almost 50 minutes was shot in the IMAX format.  I look forward to the next two films in continuing on the adventure with Katniss and her friends.  My Rating:  Full Price   The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Website
My ViewDelivery Man  (2013)  PG-13 David (Vince Vaughn) basically skates through life, making almost no effort in his relationship with his girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) or at his family owned business. This all changes when David is told that, through a mistake at a fertility clinic, he has fathered more than 500 children. Now more than 100 of his kids are suing to find out who is their real father. How can a man who has escaped responsibility his whole life be a father to so many children?  This film is a remake of the French-Canadian film Starbuck, which I really liked last year.  The problem with this film is it is exactly like Starbuck, except shot in English.  Most of the scenes in this film match the earlier film shot for shot.  The big difference is the casting.  I like the casting in the Starbuck film much more than in the American film.  The lead in Starbuck was much more of a sad-sack looking guy, while Vince Vaughn looks too much like his role in Swingers.  The woman who played his girlfriend in Starbuck looked like she could beat him up, where I just don’t believe Cobie as a cop (and yes, I know she is an agent of Shield in the Marvel world, but she just looks out of place in a cop uniform).  The film absolutely brings nothing new to the screen, so if you want to see this film, rent Starbuck and skip the theatre  My Rating:  Cable  Delivery Man Website
Indiefest: The Book Thief (2013)  PG-13  Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) is handed over, by her mother, to a foster family in pre-World War II Nazi Germany. Liesel tries to fit in with her foster parents, the kind-hearted Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and the strict Rosa (Emily Watson). Soon, a new houseguest arrives, a Jewish refugee (Ben Schnetzer) whom the family must hide from the authorities, as his very presence threatens Liesel’s new family.  Fans of the bestselling book may be slightly upset at some of the changes the film makes from the book, but the heart and message of the book are still there, inside the film.  It’s an inspiring story of the power of words, and the movie is expertly cast. Nelisse is spot on playing Liesel, a girl who is trying to overcome so much with the help of her adopted family.  Geoffrey Rush gives one of his better performances as the kind-hearted Hans.  The film can be tough at times to watch as it is about the Holocaust, but ultimately, it’s inspiring.  My Rating:  Full Price   The Book Thief Website
IndiefestKill Your Darlings (2013)  In 1944, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) enrolls in Columbia University to become a poet in the big city of New York. He soon encounters Lucien (Dane DeHaan) a ringleader of the ragtag group of writers, including William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), who are bent on changing the world, one word at a time.  This is a film about the origins of the “Beat Generation” of writers.  I especially like Radcliffe in the lead role of Allen Ginsberg.  He plays Ginsberg as a young man who is in search to find his voice and to come to terms with his sexuality.  Foster, as the weird and eccentric Burroughs, is perfect in the role and Michael C. Hall, who plays the key part of a former lover of Lucien, is his usual creepy self.  The film is an interesting look at a time that the world was at war, and it’s young generation was trying to find a way to express themselves.   My Rating:  Full Price  Kill Your Darlings Website
Forgotten Film:  What’s Up, Tiger Lily?  (1966)  PG   Before there was Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Rifftrax, there was Woody Allen, who took making fun of bad movies to new heights.  Allen bought a Japanese action film titled “International Secret Police: Key of Keys” , took out the dialogue track and redubbed with English speaking voices, using a script that isn’t even close to the original plot.  Not all the jokes work, but there are so many of them, that it’s just a fun film to watch.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   What's Up, Tiger Lily? Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):  The World’s End (2013)  R   loved this film from the makers of Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).  Five friends decide to reunite to relive a pub-crawl, and things start going very badly from almost the beginning.  This is one of those films you will have to see twice since you will be laughing and not hear all the lines.  My Rating: Full Price  The World's End Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire:   Ethnic Flute

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMandela: Long Walk to Freedom  (2013) PG-13  This should be a sure thing Oscar nomination for Idris Elba in the lead role.  This film has been ten years in the making about the legendary South African Nelson Mandela.  Mandela:The Long Walk Home Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Best Man Holiday

My ViewThe Best Man Holiday (2013)  R When old college friends get together for the Christmas holidays, they find out just how easy it is to pick right back up where they left off, which is good in the romance department but not so much when dealing with a rival.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first film in the series, The Best Man, and while this film isn’t as good as the first one, it’s still a fun movie with a great message about love and family.  It’s fun to watch a film where it's evident the cast really enjoys working together.  Taye Diggs and Regina Hall stand out in this ensemble piece that is both funny and touching.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Best Man Holiday Website

IndiefestDallas Buyers Club (2013)   A Texas electrician / part-time cowboy named, Ron (Matthew McConaughey), is diagnosed in 1986 as HIV-positive.  When told he has only 30 days to live, he researches and discovers that there are experimental drugs in Mexico and overseas for treating AIDS, but these drugs are not allowed in this country.  Ron figures out a way to get the drugs and help other HIV-Positive patients live longer.  McConaughey is amazing in this film and brings a multi-layered performance to the screen that only he can.  Jared Leto is also outstanding as a transvestite who is, at first, Ron’s contact to the gay lifestyle, but later becomes one of his best friends.  This is a moving and powerful film about overcoming obstacles and working against odds to triumph in life as a better person.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  Dallas Buyers Club Website 

Forgotten FilmDark Star  (1974)  This John Carpenter directed black comedy was a student film at one time that became a feature film.  It’s the story of a group of astronauts who are in charge of blowing up unstable planets so that their star systems can be colonized.  The mission starts to go wrong, and just about everything that can happen badly, does, including a “smart bomb” that goes rogue and thinks that it’s God.  This is a crazy, strange film that shows even though you may have a small budget, you can still make well done, interesting movie.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Dark Star Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Endless Love (2014) Remake of the 1981 stinker of the same name that starred Brooke Shields.  The 1981 film made my “Bottom 50 Bad Films of All-time” list, so I guess I should hold a spot for this one.  Endless Love Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Man of Steel (2013)  PG-13  I thought this retelling of the Superman story was overly long with a closing fight scene that destroys New York and goes on forever.  It’s not a bad movie but not a really good one either.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Man of Steel Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Best Man Holiday:  Buffalo stunt

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouDelivery Man (2013)  Ken Scott co-wrote and directed the French-Canadian film Starbuck (2011), which I really enjoyed.  He is now bringing the same film to American audiences with Vince Vaughn starring as the underachiever who finds out that through a mistake at a sperm bank, he has fathered over 500 kids.   Delivery Man Info
Until Next Time!