Friday, December 30, 2011

The Artist 2011

The Artist
   Set in 1927 Hollywood, silent movie star George Valentin wonders if talking pictures will have an impact on his career.  He meets Peppy Miller who is a young dancer set for a big break in these new pictures.
    This is very different and good, almost entirely silent and filmed in black and white.  George has a little dog that is very cute and goes everywhere with him.  4* (I really liked this movie)

100 min, Romance directed by Michel Hazanavicius with Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter.

Note:  Not listed on Blockbuster, imdb 8.4 out of 10, 97% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cropsy 2009

Cropsey    Documentary about an urban legend in Staten Island originally started to keep kids from exploring abandoned buildings.  It verges too close to reality when children do start missing.  A man is arrested, tried and convicted but is he really guilty?  Later he is tried again for an earlier abduction and convicted again but is he really guilty again?  
    Many local people are interviewed and the known facts are presented but cameras are not allowed into the courtroom.  The defendant does not testify in the second trial because his criminal record could influence the jury.  This movie seems weak since there is only a partial resolution plus the same scenes are shown multiple times.  3* (This movie is OK)

84 min, Doc directed by Josh Zeman, Barbara Brancacclo.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 87% critic 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Grace Card 2011

The Grace Card (2011)   Police officer Mac McDonald has never recovered from losing his son in a tragic accident eighteen years ago.  He has spent these years in rage and hostility and his relationships both with his family and on the force are crumbling.  Mac is passed over for promotion because of his attitude and he begins to boil over when he is partnered with an officer who has been promoted.
    A little bit soap opera and predictable but this is still interesting.  Relationships are not easy at home or work but eighteen years of bitterness is a large obstacle to overcome.  3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Drama dire3cted by David Evans with Louis Gossett, Jr., Michael Joiner, Michael Higgenbottom, Joy Moore, Dawntoya Thomason, Rob Erickson.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 4.7 out of 10, 35% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hangover Part II 2011

The  Hangover Part II (2011)    A modest bachelor brunch turns into a wild weekend in Bangkok when the gang travels to Thailand to see Stu get married.  Stu has vowed to keep his  party very low key after their previous Las Vegas fiasco. 
    This doesn't seem to be as good as the first Hangover or maybe the concept has already been pushed to the limit? 3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Comedy directed by Todd Phillips with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambor.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 35% critic 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)    Caesar is a genetically engineered chimp who was created in a San Francisco lab by an ambitious scientist.  Will rescues the baby chimp when the project is cancelled by the lab after an adult chimp escapes his enclosure.  Caesar's mother passed the gene alteration on to him and he has remarkable intelligence plus green eyes.  There is an altercation between Will's father who has dementia and a neighbor, Caesar attempts a rescue but he uses too much of his extra physical power.  He lands in an ape sanctuary until a hearing is held in three months.  Things are not what they seem at the sanctuary.
    This is supposed to be Sci-Fi & Fantasy but it is a comedy?  The location is San Francisco so it makes everything seem local and it is real acting that James Franco can keep a straight face during some of the action.  Are there that many apes in the City?  This does make you want to go back to the original movies.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Sci-Fi directed by Rupert Wyatt with James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Karin Konoval.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 7.7 out of 10, 82% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)   A discredited journalist and a computer hacker work to solve the mystery of a 40 year old murder, this is a remake of the 2009 Swedish movie with the same name.  The deeper they dig for the truth, the closer they come to a confrontation with the killer.
    Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and the other actors are good in this movie but there are only a few differences from the 2009 release.  It does seem to be at a faster pace and easier to watch because there are no subtitles.  But, what is the point of making a second movie almost like the first?  I expected more people to be in the theater but word of mouth may be undermining interest.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

158 min, Crime directed by David Fincher with Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb, 8.3 out of 10, 85% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Film Unfinished

A Film Unfinished     In 1942, more than two years after Nazi troops herded Poland's Jews into a ghetto in Warsaw, a few cameramen were sent to shoot material that was intended for a German propaganda film.  They filmed scenes of daily life and horrific moments of death and despair.  The film was never completed and after the war the unedited footage was discovered in a German archive.  Five survivors of the ghetto are interviewed and they talk about the film and their lives in the ghetto. 
    This is a tough film because many of the Jews stave to death, some only have rags to wear and others are dressed up and wearing jewelry.  Sometimes the survivors have a difficult time viewing the scenes.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Doc directed by Yael Hersonski with Hava Alberstein, Hanna Avrutzki, Alexander Beyer, Mendy Cahan, Luba Gewisser, Janusz Hamerszmit, Rona Kenan.

Note:  Blockbuster 4 1/2*, imdb 7.1 out of 10, 97% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nenette 2010

<SPAN id=    Nenette is an orangutan who is 40 years old and has been at the zoo in Paris for most of her life.  She is the mother of four and has survived three mates, she bonds only with a few of the zoo keepers.  We see all the orangutans from the other side of their thick glass but we only see some reflections of the visitors.  The comments from the visitors are featured along with interviews with the zoo keepers.
    This movie is interesting but a stretch at 70 minutes since orangutans are very slow in their movements except when they are swinging or climbing their ropes.  It's cute when they take blankets and cover themselves, Nenette can also open a bottle and drink from it just like a person.  3* (This movie is OK)

70 min, Doc directed by Nicolas Philibert.

Note:  Not listed on Blockbuster, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 84% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Run 2010

My Run (2010)    Terry Hitchcock is a 57 year old man coping with the death of his wife from breast cancer and single parenthood.  To bring attention to this disease and single parents, he ran 75 marathons in 75 consecutive days.  It was a tremendous challenge and a test of the limits of his endurance.  Supporting him in this was tough for his three children, especially his son who was along on the journey.
    This is good, it seems like Terry cannot finish this challenge due to the severe requirements physically and mentally but you are still rooting for him.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
85 min, Doc directed by Tim Vandesteeg and narrated by Billy Bob Thornton.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 1/2*, imdb 6.6, no critic reviews yet 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dolphin Tail 2011

Dolphin Tale (2011)   Inspired by the true story of Winter, a dolphin who was rescued off the Florida coast after her tail became caught in a crab trap.  She is found by a fisherman and a Sawyer, a young boy that Winter bonds with immediately when she senses he is trying to help her.  She is taken to Clearwater Marine Hospital but part of her tail needs to be amputated because ropes cut off the circulation for too long a period. 
    This is enjoyable and you are really hoping that Winter will be able to live without part of her tail.  It is very unfortunate that sea animals are killed and injured by fishing practices. 

113 min, Family directed by Charles Martin Smith with Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehisdorff, Morgan Freeman, Austin Stowell.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 83% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Margin Call 2011

Margin Call (2011)    An investment firm discovers the entire firm is in jeopardy due to an inaccuracy in a formula.  Several employees passed this information on to the bosses months ago but nothing was done.  In the next 24 hours decisions have to be made that affect the employees and the finances of everyday individuals.  This is set during the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.
    You see the inner workings of a company, some employees are fired before the formula conflict.  Given information about their settlement, escorted to their offices to pack personal belongings, escorted to the door and their cells phones terminated.  Now you want to ask one of the employees to return and help you after this kind of treatment?  Cutthroat through and through.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

109 min, Mys directed by J.C. Chandor with Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 86% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Once Upon a Time in Rio 2008

Once Upon a Time in Rio (2008)    Rio de Janeiro has a two-tiered society, the upper level is the Ipanema Beach and the lower level is the Cantagalo slum.  The working class cleans apartments, staffs restaurants, food sellers.  De lives with his mother in a cramped apartment and he sells hot dogs on the beach.  Nina is the only child of a successful lawyer and he is not happy when he learns about Nina's new boyfriend.  De and Nina begin to learn that everything is against them and their romance.
    There is nothing new except the location in this Romeo and Juliet plot.  You do become connected to the characters but the end is inevitable.  3* (This movie is OK)

117, Drama directed by Breno Silveria with Thiago Martins, Cyria Coentro, Rocco Pitanga, Vitória Frate, Paulo César Grande.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, not listed on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Forks over Knives 2011

Forks Over Knives Poster    The claim is presented and examined that most or all of the degenerative diseases afflicting us can be controlled or reversed by rejecting our present menu of animal based and processed foods.  In the 60's, Dr. T. Colin Campbell is a nutritional scientist working to find a way to feed impoverished Third World nations.  It changed his life when he went to the Philippines and discovered that affluent children with diets rich in animal based foods had high rates of liver cancer compared to children eating plant based diets.  At the same time, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn was head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the Cleveland Clinic, he saw that the diseases he was seeing in patients were almost nonexistent in areas of the world that consumed plant foods.
    Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn present a compelling argument and they both follow their diet practices in their lives and in advice to their patients.  Several patient histories are followed as they change their diets to help their physical health.  Food as a medicine is a different concept.  4* (I really liked this movie)

90 min, Doc directed by Lee Fulkerson with Joey Aucoin, Neal Barnard, Gene Baur, San'Dere Brantley-Nation, Junshi Chen, Mac Danzig, Connie Diekman, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., Rip Esselstyn.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 59% critic and 86% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Song for Martin 2001

A Song for Martin (2001)    Martin is a well known and highly respected classical composer and conductor in his early sixties.  Barbara is the first violinist and in her fifties.  There is a strong mutual attraction between them and they both divorce their mates and get married.  They settle in Sweden and work together on his composing.  Five years later Martin is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
    This is good, Barbara really loves Martin, he can't help what his happening to his memory and personality.  It's a struggle for both of them.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

113 min, Drama directed by Bille August with Sven Wolter, Viveka Seldahl, Reine Brynolfsson, Peter Engman, Kristina Tornqvist, Lisa Werllinder.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.8 out of 10, 85% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Ledge 2011

The Ledge (2011)    A man is on the ledge of a tall apartment building, the police are called to try to talk him off the ledge.  The man doesn't want to be there but he has until noon to jump or a woman will be shot by her husband.  Gavin has hired Shauna to work in the hotel where he works and they also live in the same apartment building.  This was a big mistake from the beginning but Gavin and Shauna have started a relationship.
    This movie is told in flashbacks and you know right away that Gavin needs to run, leave town, move away, get another job, do anything to get away from Shauna because her husband is more than unpleasant.  If she's the last woman in the world, run anyway.  3* (This movie is OK)

101 min, Mys directed by Matthew Chapman with Charlie Hunnam, Terrance Howard, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Jacqueline Fleming, Christopher Gorham.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 11% critic 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Housemaid 2010

The  Housemaid (2010)    This is a remake of a movie from 1960.  Eun-yi is hired by the housekeeper Byung-sik to work for a very wealthy family in this drama from Korea.  Hae-ra, the wife and mother, is pregnant with twins and they have a young daughter.  The family lives in an opulent home and no expense is spared for wine and food.  Both Byung-sik and Eun-yi are treated as servants and not as "real" people.  Hae-ra and her husband Hoon seem to be happy but he becomes attracted to Eun-yi.
    This movie really shows how in some instances the world of privilege and power completely separates people from kindness, caring, consideration or any other expression of feeling for others not in the same position.  I wanted to ending to be different but I see how it was used to fully illustrate the theme.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

107 min, Drama directed by Im Sang-soo with Jeon Do-yeon, Lee Jung-Jae, Youn Yuh-jung, Seo Woo, Park Ji-young, Ahn Seo-Hyun, Jeon Do-yeon, Youn Yuh-jung.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 74% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Phantom Carriage 1920

Körkarlen (1920)    Based on an ancient Scandanavian legend, each year on New Year's Eve a phantom chariot carries off the souls of those who have sinned.  David Holm is forced to recall his past misdeeds and his only hope lies in performing an act of selflessness.
    This is like A Christmas Carol but it is much more hardcore and is a silent movie in black and white.  No sugar coating here.  4* (I really liked this movie)

106 min, Drama directed by Victor Sjostrom with Hilda Borgstrom, Astrid Holm, Concordia Selander, Mona Geijer-Falkner, Nils Ahren, Anna-Lisa Baude.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.9 out of 10, 100% critic and 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marry Me 2010

Marry Me (2010)    A social worker who loves her job has always wanted the fairytale where she meets a prince, falls in love and gets married.  She's been dating Adam for two years and expects him to "pop the question" when he lets her know he has an important question to ask her.  It turns out he has received a grant to photograph frogs across the world?  She has a blind date with the nephew of their Pastor and that doesn't seem to be going very well but she doesn't want to give up.  Then she meets his handsome former college roommate and finds him very attractive.  Which one will be the prince?   
    I didn't know this was a Lifetime Min-Series, you can tell this was shown on TV because of the scene breaks for commercials.  I do not know why this is so long when it could have been resolved in half the time?  It does have funny moments but somewhat predictable.  3* (This movie is OK)

169 min, TV Comedy directed by James Hayman with Lucy Liu, Steven Pasqualae, Bobby Canavale, Enrique Murciano, Danielle Nicolet, Vanessa Marano, David Andrews, Elizabeth Bogush, Burgess Jenkins.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, not listed on imdb or Rotten Tomatoes. 

Waiting for Forever 2010

Waiting for Forever (2010)    Emma's father is sick and she leaves Los Angeles for her hometown.  Will has loved Emma since they were kids and his parents were killed in a train accident.  He and his brother moved away to live with relatives but for the last few years Will has been where Emma has been, she just didn't know.  Will returns to their hometown and determines that he will speak to Emma and tell him how he feels.
    It seems like everyone is inside out in this movie, the father is dying but he hurts his wife with his words, Emma's boyfriend is a jerk and it rubs off on her, Will's brother is cruel when he doesn't need to be, Will is arrested for a crime he doesn't know anything about?  Maybe this was made for the other Earth?  2* (I didn't like this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by James Keach with Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Blythe Danner, Richard Jenkins, Scott Mechlowicz, Nikki Blonsky, Jamie King, Matthew Davis, Richard Gant, Roz Ryan.

Note:  Blockbuster 1 1/2*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 6% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Help 2011

The Help Poster
    It's the 1960's in Jacksonville Mississippi, everything in the town is divided between black and white.  The black women are maids in the houses of the white women and it's been this way for a long time.  There a published laws regarding the interaction and separation of the two races.  Eugenia is a part of this white society but she sees things differently and she wants to be a writer.  She starts talking to Albileen about what it is really like to be a maid and they encourage the other maids to begin to tell their stories.
    This is very good, it's a story that most of us don't know anything about.  Raising white children but not raising their own children, not being able to use the same bathroom as their employer, cooking, cleaning doing everything but facing being fired for very little reason.  4 1/2* (I really liked this movie)
146 min, Drama directed by Tate Taylor with Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Ahna O'Reilly, Allison Janney, Anna Camp, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 8.1 out of 10, 75% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams 2010

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)    In 1994 a cave in Southern France known as the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc was discovered which contains some of the oldest etchings made by man.  Few have obtained access to the cave because of fear of damage.  German filmmaker Werner Herzog obtained permission to film with non-heat emitting lights and a small crew.
    The etchings and the cave itself are very interesting.  The only problem I have with this film is there are a limited number of etchings featured so they are shown multiple times.  There are other areas of the cave that were not shown because the floor cannot be walked on.  3* This movie is OK)

90 min, Doc directed by Werner Herzog with Dominique Baffier, Jean Clottes.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, 7.5 out of 10, 96% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Everything Must Go 2010

Everything Must Go (2010)    Nick was once a successful salesman with a happy marriage but years of drinking have finally caught up with him.  He's fired from his job and all his possessions are on the front lawn of his house when he gets home.  The only way he can live in front of his house is to put up signs that he is having a yard sale and the law gives him five days.  He enlists the help of a neighborhood kid to help watch his things and help with the sale.
    There is potential here but there are details left out in the beginning that would diminish your sympathy for Nick.  The ending is just a fizzle that makes you wonder why you invested any time in the movie?  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)

97 min, Drama directed by Dan Rush with Will Ferrell, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Rosalie Michaels, Stephen Root, Laura Dern, Glenn Howerton.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 74% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Henry's Crime 2010

Henry's Crime    Henry is set up to take the fall in a bank robbery and he goes to jail for a year.  Max is also in jail but he doesn't want to leave, every time he comes before the board, he makes sure he doesn't go free.  Henry decides he's done the time so he might as well do the crime.  He talks Max into finally getting out and they start working on the plan.  There are several complications, one is Julie, Henry might really like her?
    Can Reeves play anything other than zombie without emotion or movement?  Some of the swerves this movie takes seem impossible to believe.  How is this a comedy?  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)

108 min, Com, directed by Malcolm Venville with Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan, Peter Sormare, Bill Duke, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, Danny Hoch.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 1/2*, imdb 6.0 out of 10, 40% critic 25% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Debt 2010

The Debt (2010)   A retired Mossad agent was part of a celebrated trio of secret agents who tracked down a Nazi war criminal in East Berlin in 1966.  This incident was so applauded in history that three decades later her daughter has published a book about the mission.
    This movie is told in back and forth sections, one section is the present and the other is 1966.  You don't have any difficulty telling the sections apart because of the ages of the people.  This movie had a lot of potential with a strong cast but it just feels weak and dreary with a few tense moments.  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)

114 min, Mys directed by John Madden with Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen, Marton Csokas, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Tomer Ben David. Romi Aboulafia.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 76% critic 70% audience.

The Change-Up 2011

The Change-Up (2011)    A married father and a swinging single swap bodies after a wild night of drinking and do their best to turn their lives into chaos.  It all happens at a fountain and when they go back to the fountain to change back, it's been moved and the city doesn't know where it is?  Dave is a successful lawyer and with Mitch holding the reins it looks like a big business plan may go south.  Now that Dave is Mitch he's not sure how to handle all this freedom from any responsibility.  Dave's wife thinks they are joking and she doesn't believe they've switched bodies.
    This is better than I thought it would be because the ending turns out to be more than expected.  It seemed very predictable and already done with some funny moments but the men learn valuable lessons.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

118 min, Comedy directed by David Dobkin with Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Mircea Monroe, Gregory Itzin, Ned Schmidtke.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 24% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Six Wivs of Henry Lefay 2008

The Six Wives of Henry Lefay (2008)    A salesman has been married six times, twice to the same wife, many times his daughter needs to step in to patch, repair and pick up the pieces.  Henry is vacationing in Mexico with a woman who is not his wife even though he is currently married and he is killed in a para-sailing accident.  Once again, it's up to his daughter to step in and keep the funeral honorable and dignified.
    So many mix-ups, so much arguing, fighting, jealousy, crying, anxiety!!  There are parts that are funny but it seems weak and lukewarm.  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min,Comedy directed by Howard Michael Gould with Tim Allen Elisha Cuthbert, Paz Vega, Andie MacDowell, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jenna Elfman, Jenna Dwan, Barbara Barrie, Lindsay Sloane.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.0, not rated by critic 25% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Marwencol 2010

Marwencol Poster    Mark Hogancamp suffers a vicious beating from five men outside of a bar.  A part of his therapy to help recover from brain damage he builds a 1/6th scale World War 2 era town he creates in his backyard.  He uses dolls representing his friends and family plus he takes life-like photographs detailing relationships and dramas.  A New York gallery sets up an art show to feature his work but Mark is very nervous about going to the city and showing his "private" creation.
    This documentary has won quite a few awards and is very different from other films of this type that I've seen.  It was a senseless beating, the world he has built is amazing, he also relies on it for safety because he fears a future attack.  He also benefited physically from the building process.  He did leave behind his insatiable desire for alcohol which contributed to being in the wrong place a the wrong time.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

83 min, Doc directed by Jeff Maimberg.

Note:  Not listed on Blockbuster, imdb 7.6 out of 10, 98% critic and 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Jolene 2008

Jolene (2008)    Jolene was raised in foster homes, she meets Mickey, she sees an opportunity for a different life.  Mickey promises they will look for a place of their own after just a couple of months of living with his aunt and uncle.  Uncle Phil really likes Jolene, it doesn't take long for this marriage to break up.  Jolene is sent to juvenile detention and she meets Cindy who helps her escape.  Next she's a roller skating waitress and she meets and marries tattoo artist Coco Leger, this only lasts until his still married to wife comes to see him with his son.  She becomes a dancer and meets mobster Sal, she's happy for a while.  She's finally on her own and has worked her way up from several jobs to receptionist.
    Chastain does a very good job in her role and she is Jolene.  I did not like the ending but it may explain everything that came before?  3* (This movie is OK)

108 min, Drama directed by Dan Ireland with Jessica Chastain, Dermot Mulroney, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Vartan, Zeb Newman, Rupert Friend, Theresa Russell, Frances Fisher, Stephanie Likes.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 50% critic 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cracks 2009

Cracks (2009)    Period drama set in 1934, Miss G is a teacher at a private school for girls near the eastern coastline of England.  She prides herself on being different and nonconformist.  Most of the other teachers are severe and straight-laced, they reinforce the school's reputation.  Everything changes when Fiamma enrolls, she is from Spain and has a strong independent streak, she doesn't look to the other students for approval, she does things her own way.  This makes her more exotic and appealing to the other students which changes the pecking order.
    This is interesting but it falls apart and loses itself near the end.  I didn't care for the conclusion, it could have been much better with more depth and investigation instead of a sweep under the rug style.  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Drama directed by Jordan Scott with Eva Green, Juno Temple, Maria Valverde, Imogen Poots, Clemmie Dugdale, Adele Mccann, Ellie Nunn, Zoe Carroll, Sinead Cusack.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 1/2*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 43% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Boy Wonder 2011

Boy Wonder (2010)    A nine year old Brooklyn boy witnesses his mother's murder in a violent carjacking.  He becomes a vigilante at age seventeen after vowing to track down her killer.  He visits the local police station frequently to look through mug shots searching for the face of his mother's killer.  He's a straight A student by day but by night he takes out a drug dealer intending to make him a victim.  Another man is beating and woman and he got away with beating a young boy but he doesn't get away from Sean.  He stops a homeless man from taunting an Asian family on public transit.
    It's obvious that Sean has a lot of mental problems from the trauma he suffered when his mother died and he didn't get the treatment that he needed at the time.  The film is vague on some of the facts and the ending but you want to think that he finally was able to set aside his Sean justice system?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie.

97 min, Drama directed by Michael Morrissey with Caleb Steinmeyer, Zulay Henao, Bill Sage, James Russo, Tracy Middendorf, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Chuck Cooper.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.3 out of 10, 40% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

That's What I Am 2011

That's What I Am (2011)   Andy is a 12 year old boy in a California middle school in the mid 1960's.  He intelligent but shy and awkward, socially unpopular and he will do anything to avoid ridicule and ostracism.  A popular teacher pairs him up on a school project with an even more unpopular student.  This will really seal his fate and make him more doomed.  There is an area on the school ground reserved only for the outcasts and once you set foot on this property, your fate is sealed.  The problem is they can only meet in this area to work on the project?
    This is very good, the teacher is trying to teach the students that tolerance leads to peace and he has won an essay contest on world peace with a new car as the prize.  His essay was only four words:  human dignity + compassion = peace.  4* (I really liked this movie)

101 min, Drama directed by Mike and Michael Pavone with Ed Harris, Chase Ellison, Molly Parker, Daniel Roebuck, Randy Orton, Daniel Yelsky, Alexander Walters, Mia Rose Frampton, Amy Madigan.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 1/2*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 58% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.