Friday, October 18, 2013


My ViewCarrie  (2013)  R  Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a shy girl who is made fun of at her high school.  Her home life isn’t any better as her life is run by her deeply religious mother (Julianne More).  Carrie soon learns that she has telekinetic powers, powers that she may use to get revenge on everyone who has made her life a living hell.  When a remake is done, new ideas and scenes must be developed to make the current film stand out from the original.  Unfortunately, this film brings nothing new to the subject and has a number of weak points.  I love Chloe Moretz, and I feel she is one of the best young actresses out there, but she is just too good looking to play the part of the isolated, quirky and disliked Carrie.  Moretz tried to cover her appearance with no makeup, tangled hair and slumped shoulders, but she is still beautiful on-screen.  When Sissy Spacek put on the prom dress in the original, she came across as kind of cute but still quirky.  When Moretz puts on the prom dress, she is gorgeous.   I did like the destruction of the prom sequence, but the rest of the film felt as though it was just a retelling of the original and not something new to watch.  Also, one of the great things about the original 1976 film was the supporting cast, filled with stars of the future like Nancy Allen, P.J.Soles, Amy Irving, William Katt and especially, John Travolta.  There isn’t anyone, other than Gabriella Wilde, who plays Sue, the good girl of the bunch, that stood out.  I was also disappointed in the performance of Julianne Moore, who didn’t bring a lot to a role that Piper Laurie played so well in the original.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Carrie Website

My View12 Years a Slave  (2013)  R   Based on a true story, this film is about Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free Black man living in upstate New York with his wife and child in the year 1841.  On a business trip, he is kidnapped and sold into slavery.  His life is filled with misery and hard work as he is shipped from plantation to plantation in Louisiana at the mercy and whim of the plantation owners. This is an incredibly moving film with some of the best performances of the year, including Ejiofor, who plays the lead of Solomon.  What I really liked about this film is that it took its time at the beginning, so that we could get to know Solomon and his family, which makes it much more heartbreaking when he is wrongfully taken from his family and put into slavery.  Michael Fassbender gives a fascinating performance as the sick and tortured plantation owner, Epps.  Lupita Nyong’o is astonishing as the defiant slave Patsey, who would rather die than keep living under the conditions of the plantation.  Ejiofor is the heart and soul of this film, and he has us in the palm of his hand with one of the best performances of the year. This is a film that you may only see once, as it is hits you to the core, but it’s an experience you will never forget.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   12 Years a Slave Website

IndiefestA.C.O.D.  (2013)  R  Carter (Adam Scott) finds out that he was an unknowing participant in a study about children of divorce when he was younger, and now the study wants a follow-up.  When Carter’s younger brother (Clark Duke) decides to get married, Carter must get his long divorced parents (Catherine O’Hara, Richard Jenkins) to not only attend the wedding, but also not wreck it with their bickering.  This film has a great cast, which makes it more disappointing to watch as it never finds its comedic voice.  I liked Adam Scott in the sort of everyman role who attempts to deal with his crazy family.  Richard Jenkins steals every scene he is in with an over-the-top performance that is a joy to watch. The film doesn’t give the rest of the cast much to do other than scream at each other, and the second half the film just gets silly and unbelievable.  This should have been a fun film to watch, but it comes off boring and unfunny.  My Rating:  Cable   A.C.O.D. Website

My ViewEscape Plan  (2013)    A world renown security expert (Sylvester Stallone) is asked to test the world’s most secure prison from the inside, as a prisoner.  Now he realizes that he was set up and must gain the help of one of the prison's most notorious criminals (Arnold Schwarzenegger) for help to escape.  When is an action film not an action film?  When your two stars are getting up there in age and can’t handle a full-fledged action film.  The film can’t decide if it wants to be a drama, an action film or a snarky comedy and, therefore, fails at all three.  There are holes in the plot the size of Schwarzenegger’s chest, and this has to be the worst run maximum security prison in the world for our heroes to get away with some of their escape plans.  It is fun to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger on-screen together, but this film has way too much talking and not enough action to make it worth watching.  My Rating:  Cable  Escape Plan Website

IndiefestWadjda  (2012)  PG  A young Saudi girl’s dream is to own a bicycle.  She enters a school competition where she will need to recite the Koran better than her schoolmates.  This is a smart, touching film with a great performance from the actress who plays Wadjda (Waad Mohammed).  We instantly like Wadjda, as Mohammed has a charisma that just comes across on the screen.  The film is told with a deft touch as it deals with a number of complicated subjects that guides us through them without hitting us over the head with an agenda.  This film shows beautifully that even under very difficult circumstances, if you are determined and have faith in yourself, you can achieve your dreams.  My Rating:  Full Price   Wadjda Website

Forgotten Film:  The Spitfire Grill  (1996)  PG-13  A young woman named Percy (Alison Elliott) is released from prison and arrives in a small town in Maine, hopeful that she can start a new life.  She gets a job at the local restaurant run by a set-in-her ways woman (Ellen Burstyn).  Elliott does a masterful job of giving us a multilayered performance in a film filled with powerful scenes and makes the film worth watching.  It’s a film about redemption, forgiveness and the need of people to accept the help of others.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Spitfire Grill Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  The Heat (2013)  R  I love this film about a button-downed FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) who has to team with a reckless detective (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a ruthless drug lord.  Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) directed this very funny film where Bullock held her own on screen with McCarthy.  My Rating:  Full Price

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Escape Plan:  Acting coach for Mr. Schwarzenegger

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Counselor  (2013)  R  Michael Fassbender plays a greedy lawyer, only known as The Counselor, who becomes involved with the seedy world of drug trafficking. This could be an Oscar contender with Ridley Scott directing and a cast made up of Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt.   The Counselor Website
Until Next Time!

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