Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Hunter 2011

The Hunter (2011)     A highly secretive biotech-research company hires Martin to travel from Europe to search in Tasmania for a small tiger that is supposed to be extinct.  The company believes the animal has some kind of secretion that it uses to kill prey.  They hope to discover what this is and if the DNA has a benefit for science.  Martin rents a room from a local family and helps the mother and her two children when the husband/father doesn’t return from a trip in the woods.  The local loggers are very suspicious of any strangers and they want to know everyone’s reason for going into the woods.
     There are a lot of unexplained elements in this film, less holes in the plot may have made for a better movie?  I did not like the ending at all and it seems to make the entire film a worthless effort?  For once Dafoe is not the “bad guy” so that is different.  3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Drama directed by Daniel Nettheim with Willem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor, Sam Neill, Morgana Davies, Finn Woodlock.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.8 out of 10, 69% critic 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea 2011

     Based on a play by Terence Tattigan.  It’s post-War England, Hester is married to Sir William Collyer but she’s seeing Freddie Page.  William is a wealthy judge and very stuffy, Freddie was a RAF pilot in WWII and he suffers from PSDT but no one knew about that at this time.  William loves Hester but she doesn’t love him, Hester loves Freddie but Freddie only loves himself.  She goes with William to visit his mother and he walks in on her talking to Freddie on the phone.  This is a remake of a 1955 film with Vivien Leigh. 
The Deep Blue Sea (2011)     I don’t know why this movie was remade?  It’s a TOTAL downer from beginning to end.  The only one with any sense is William.  Should be titled, Instructions on How to be a Martyr!!  3* (This movie is OK)

98 min, Drama directed by Terence Davies with Rachel Weisz, Ann Mitchell, Jolyon Coy, Karl Johnson, Harry Hadden-Paton, Sarah Kants, Oliver Ford Davies, Barbara Jefford, Simon Russell Beale.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 79% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Inspector Lewis: Series 6: Fearful Symmetry 2012

Product Details     A couple living in London hire a babysitter to watch their young son for the evening.  When they return home, they find the child crying and the babysitter dead?  She also worked for a feminist photographer and a university lab with her boyfriend’s father.  Everyone who knows Jess is very upset and can’t understand anything about her death, especially her boyfriend.  When there is another murder, this case really heats up for Lewis and Hathaway.
     This is good, I thought the only way to figure out who was behind these crimes was to look for the person least likely to be the killer!?  Don’t count on that as a clue to solve this!!   4* (I really liked this movie)

120 min, Crime directed by Nicholas Renton with Kevin Whately, Lawrence Fox, Abi Hardingham, Georgia Taylor Ciaran McMenamin, Lucy Cohu, Gregory Truter, Con O’Neill.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Monsieur Lazhar 2011

Monsieur Lazhar (2011)    Simon and Alice are grade school students, they both make a shocking discovery in their classroom.  Simon has the job of bringing the small cartons of milk to the classroom for that day, he sees through the window in the door that his teacher has hanged herself.  Alice sees all the milk cartons dropped on the floor from the milk crate and she also looks in the window.  All the children in the class plus the students in the other classes are in an emotional turmoil.  A psychologist is brought in to help everyone cope with their grief and feelings.  The principal hires Bachir Lazhar to begin teaching the class and to also help the class heal.  Monsieur Lazhar is also struggling with deaths in his own family plus a request for asylum in Canada from his home country of Algeria.
     The concept for this movie is very narrow in scope so it seems like you are back in the classroom yourself.  The main difference is that you are not struggling since you didn’t know the teacher.  The idea that she would do this in the classroom because of the pain and confusion it would cause to the children seems incomprehensible?  3* (This movie is OK)

94 min, Drama directed by Philippe Falardeau with Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron, Marie-Eve Beauregard, Vincent Millard, Seddik Benslimane.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.6 out of 10, 97% critic 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Certified Copy 2010

Product Details     A gallery owner in a Tuscan village attends a lecture by a British author, his book is about authenticity and fakery in art.  She doesn’t like the book but attends the lecture, she buys six copies of the book  to give as gifts to people she doesn’t like?  She has a son who has and causes a lot of problems.  She’s attracted to the author and they meet the next day for a date. 
     I was surprised to see that Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress prize in Cannes for this performance?  I did not like this movie, I don’t think Binoche and Carriere have any chemistry together.  It seems like chalk scraping on a blackboard or a shovel on gravel.  It makes your teeth set on edge and you have no desire to continue watching!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

105 min, Drama directed by Abbas Kiarostami with Juliette Binoche, Jean-Claude Carriere, Agathe Natanson, William Shimell, Gianna Giachetti, Adrian Moore.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 88% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Afternoons with Margueritte 2011

Product Details     A lonely man in his 50’s living in the small French town of Germain meets a very pleasant woman in her 90’s on a park bench.  She reads a lot and he’s not very good at reading, she begins to open up words and books to his life.   She has a passion and appreciation for literature but he has always felt excluded from this type of life.  They establish a deep friendship that starts them both on a new journey.
     A wonderful idea but this comes across as dull and boring, not worth the time to finish.  Margueritte is very pleasant but the same cannot be said for Germain.  I am always willing to believe that a very large old man is with an attractive young woman!!  Not!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

82 min, Drama directed by Jean Becker with Gerard Depardieu, Gisele Casadesus, Mauane, Patrick Bouchitey, Jean-Francis Stevenin, Francois-Xavier Demaison.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 84% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fireflies in the Garden 2008

Fireflies in the Garden (2008)     Lisa and Charlie are a couple with two children, Michael and Ryne.  Charlie has a very hard time relating to Michael as a young boy during the time they were expecting Ryne.  He easily gets very angry at Michael and he doles out severe punishments for infractions.  Lisa loves Michael very much and she is very stressed over Charlie, his behavior and punishment of Michael. 
     I had a difficult time with this movie since it’s told in flashbacks and it’s hard to establish a time frame for some of the events.  I think this would have been much better in the straightforward format of just following the chronological order.  I was looking forward and waiting to see this film but this is a waste of good actors.   2* (I didn’t like this movie)

89 min, Drama directed by Dennis Lee with Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Loan Gruffudd, Hayden Panettiere, Cayden Boyd, Shannon Lucio.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 20% critic 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

People Like Us 2012

People Like Us (2012)     This film was inspired by true events.  Sam is a salesman in his 20’s, his father recently passed away and it’s up to Sam to settle the estate.  Surprisingly, he finds out he has a sister 30 years old that he’s never known about?  Sam has been estranged from his family but this is still quite a shock.  Both Sam and his sister re-evaluate their lives and what they thought about their family.
     This movie seems off from the start.  Sam doesn’t tell his sister Frankie that he is her brother.  You want to hit him because she is going to get romantic ideas about him and then have them dashed.  Two and two really does add up to four?  You begin to not care about any of this and just want it to resolve in some manner so it will be done.  3* (This movie is OK)  

113 min, Drama directed by Alex Kurtzman with Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Hall D’Addario, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Sara Mornell, Philip Baker Hall.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.1 out of 10, 57% critic 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement 2012

     Tom and Violet get engaged and start planning their wedding.  Several things happen at once to cause their plans to be postponed.  Violet’s sister learns she is pregnant which means her wedding needs to be planned first.  Violet was counting on getting into UC Berkeley but she wasn’t accepted, instead she is invited to attend a university in Michigan.  Tom is a chef at a local restaurant in San Francisco and he reluctantly turns in his two weeks notice.  He learns he would’ve been promoted to head chef of the new clam bar his boss is going to open.  Michigan is good for Violet but not very kind to Tom.
The Five-Year Engagement (2012)     This is different and good but because it’s produced by Judd Apatow, it must have the obligatory bad language and references.  All of this could have been eliminated and made a better film.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

125 min, Comedy directed by Nicolas Stoller with Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman, Rhys Ifans, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, 6.3 out of 10, 64% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman 2012

     The King loses his Queen to death and is lured into battle to fight a dark army that pulverizes when struck with a sword.  He discovers a woman prisoner in a carriage and he becomes "enchanted" with her.  He makes her his Queen but she kills him with a sword on their wedding night.  The entire kingdom turns dark under her reign and rule.  When she learns that Snow White is the fairest in the land and she has escaped, the Queen spares the Huntsman's life for him to return her to the palace. 
     This is better than I thought it would be except for the ridiculous haircut of the Queen’s brother.  I could’ve cut his hair with hedge trimmers and done a better job!  Every time I see him in a scene, all I can do is stare at his head?  Sometimes I wonder if Stewart is acting or just always playing herself?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

128 min, Fantasy directed by Rupert Sanders with Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Steven Graham.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.3 out of 10, 48% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Young and Innocent 1937

     Robert Tisdall finds a dead woman at the shore, he goes for help but two women see him running away and they think he is the murderer.  The dead woman did not drown as first thought but she was strangled with the belt of a raincoat.  Of course, Robert had a raincoat but it was stolen while he was eating at a local café.
     The old cars, the style of dress and the scenery of 1937 is wonderful to see.  Some of the filming took a lot of time, patience and talent because the latest in technology was not available.  Don’t forget to look for Hitchcock in one of the scenes.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

83 min, Mystery directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Nova Pilbeam, Derrick de Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby, Mary Clare, John Longden, George Curzon, Basil Rathford.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.1 out 10, 100% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Your Love Never Fails 2011

      Laura and her nine-year-old daughter Kelsey live in New York, Laura is very busy with her banking job.  She learns she must make a trip to Texas because her husband has filed a court petition for joint custody of Kelsey.  Laura and Dylan have been separated for six years and he hasn’t seen very much of Kelsey because his income doesn’t allow trips to New York.  Laura and Kelsey are both very upset, Laura thinks things are fine the way they are and Kelsey doesn’t want to leave her friends or her school.
     The first appearance in court doesn’t go well and the judge rules that the parents must settle their differences over the weekend and return on Monday.  Of course, Laura doesn’t want to take this much time away from her job, she's ready to fly back right now.  This is very predictable, you know exactly where this is going from the beginning.  3* (This movie is OK) 

96 min, Drama directed by Michael Feifer with Elisa Donovan, Brad Rowe, John Schneider, Fred Willard, Anna Barnholtz, Kirstin Dorn, Tracey Gold, Brad Rowe.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 4.6 out of 10, no critic review 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Your Love Never Fails (2011)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Talking to Heaven 2002

     Based on an autobiographical book by psychic James Van Praagh.  James spent most of his life either denying his clairvoyant gifts or facing being called a freak.  Friends and family members shunned him and didn’t believe his visions were real.  He begins to assist the police in solving crimes and this does bring him some personal reward.
     I thought that James Van Praagh was a hoax and more of a charlatan than a real clairvoyant?  I looked him up on Wikipedia and he has both believers and skeptics.  It was interesting to learn he was the co-executive producer of the Ghost Whisperer on CBS with Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Ted Danson looks nothing like Van Praagh?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

142 min, Drama directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal with Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Ladd, Queen Latifah, Jack Palance, Michael Moriarty. 

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, no critic review 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Talking to Heaven (2002)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus Henry Christ 2011

Jesus Henry Christ (2011)     When he turns 10 years old, Henry James Herman sets out to find his father. Patricia, his feminist single mother has raised him.  Henry is a genius and he remembers everything from the age of one year.  He also started to speak in full sentences at this age.  Henry is shocked when he learns from his grandfather that he was a test-tube baby.
     The premise is good but execution is bad.  I kept hoping this was going to get better but it keeps slogging along and it’s not funny either.  I found this sad and not funny?  I liked Toni Collette as an actress but she has nothing to work with in her role.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)   

92 min, Comedy directed by Dennis Lee with Toni Collette, Michael Sheen, Jason Spevack, Samantha Weinstein, Frank Moore, Aaron Abrams. 

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 25% critic 46% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness 2003

Prime Suspect 6 (2003)     Jane Tennison has managed to move up the ranks in the police force but not without opposition every step of the way.  Now the department is thinking about her retirement but she’s not happy about the thought or the idea.  A Bosnian immigrant worker is found murdered in an apartment complex undergoing renovations.  This is a very tough case, one small clue leads to the discovery of many complex clues.  One step forward and two steps back with every clue.
     This is very good, some of the information can be pieced together and give you an idea of what you think is happening but it’s not a sure bet.  Good screenplay, plot and acting with a tough subject.  4 ½* (I really liked this movie) 
200 min, Crime directed by Tom Hooper with Helen Mirren, Oleg Menshikov, Ben Miles, Robert Pugh, Clare Holman, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, Velibor Topic, Barnaby Kay, Tanya Moodie.   

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 8.2 out of 10, no critic review 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oz and James’ Big Wine Adventure 2006

Product Details     Oz Clarke is a wine expert and James May is on the British program Top Gear.  Oz wants to take James to the different wine regions of France to educate his mind and palate about French wines.  James wants to be serious and he does want to learn but he blows the Oz whistle every time Oz is being pretentious about the wines.
     I've seen two of the movies in this series, the previous movie was their wine adventure in California.  This has many funny moments, one difference between French and American wines is that the French name their wines according to the wine regions where the grapes are gown.  American wines are named after the primary varietal of the grape.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

29 min, 11 episodes, Doc directed by Mark Powell with Oz Clarke, James May, Andrea Boscan, Lucy Davis, Nick Shearman, Gemma Lys Cooper, Lucy Kattenhorn.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10.

La Promesse 1996

     Igor and his father Roger, have a lot of scams going to make money.  Igor is supposed to be apprenticing at an auto garage but the owner gets fed up after too much lateness and leaving early.  The pair rent out apartments to illegal immigrants, they will take off money from the rent if the men work for them on construction.  A building inspector pays a surprise visit and Amidou (a regular worker) falls of a scaffold while hurrying to hide.  Igor makes a promise to Amidou that he will look after Assita, Amidou’s wife and their baby son who recently arrived at the apartment.
La Promesse (1996)     Roger is supposed to be the adult here and he has no principles or any concept of right and wrong.  Igor is a minor but he takes this promise to Amidou seriously and tries to help Assita and the baby.  This puts him at odds with his father, he expects like father like son behavior.  This is good, it illustrates different cultures and practices plus family relationships.  Renier was 11 years old in his first film, he is 15 in this second film, he has gone on to roles in 41 more movies.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

92 min, Drama directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne with Jeremie Renier, Olivier Gourmet, Assita Ouedraogo, Frederic Bodson, Florian Delain, Hachemi Haddad.

Note:  imdb 7.7 out of 10.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Darkest Hour 2011

The Darkest Hour (2011)     Sean and Ben are software designers, they travel to Moscow to sell their product to investors.  They have a Swedish partner put he pulls a double cross and promotes the product by himself.  Sean and Ben are mad, upset, disappointed and out money for the expenses.  They go to a nightclub and meet Natalie from America and Anne from Australia. Their partner shows up at the same club.  Suddenly, lights start falling from the sky, they are very beautiful but it’s aliens using Moscow’s power supply to turn the population into ashes.
     This is like Vanishing on 7th Street except it does not have John Leguizama so you know right away this is a better movie!  In 7th Street, it was the darkness to be afraid of, in this film the aliens cause light bulbs to glow which indicates their presence.   I thought it was interesting to try to establish the worth of each of the core characters.  You can use that as a guide to predict who will disappear next.  3* (This movie is OK)

89 min, Action directed by Chris Gorak with Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Vermadskaya.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.9, 12% critic 25% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sweet Nothing in My Ear 2008

Product Details     Dan Miller is married to Laura and they have a son, Adam.  Dan is hearing, Laura is deaf and Adam was born hearing but became deaf.  They are very happy, Laura is a teacher at a deaf school and Adam goes to the same school.  Dan and Adam are getting ready for a big birthday party for Adam.  Adam chases a balloon and falls over his bike, he goes to the Emergency Room and needs stitches but he’s OK.  The ER doctor mentions that Adam would be a good candidate for a cochlear implant.  This is a new device that would enable Adam to hear again.
     Warning, this is a Hallmark Movie!  Just the mention of the idea of a cochlear implant sends Laura and her parents into a tailspin.  Laura’s father is also deaf and he has “deaf prejudice.”  This means he has very definite strong ideas about deaf people and the idea that they are “handicapped.”  This is good, a lot of information I didn’t know.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

120 min, Drama directed by Joseph Sargent with Jeff Daniels, Marlee3 Matlin, Ed Waterstreet, Phyllis Frelich, SonyaWaiger,David Oyelowo, Noah Valencia, Rosemary Forsyth, Bradford English.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, no critic review 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stella Dallas 1937

Stella Dallas (1937)     Stephen Dallas has left his home and taken a new job to get away from his fiancée who is marrying someone else.  He meets Stella Martin and they fall quickly in love.  She’s a working class gal and he finds the way she acts and dresses beneath his style.  At first, she wanted to be classic like him but now she just wants to be herself.  They have a daughter Laurel but when Stephen takes a different job in New York, Stella refuses to move.
     This is a real tear jerker!!  It’s a very good story and good acting too.  A remake of a movie from 1925 and based on a 1923 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty.  4* (I really liked this movie)

106 min, Drama directed by King Vidor with Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O’Neil, Alan Hale, Majorie Main, George Walcott.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.4 out of 10, 80% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Red Lights 2004

Red Lights (2004)      It’s the end of the summer holiday in France, Antoine and Helene leave after work to drive south to pick up their son and daughter from camp.  Antoine is an alcoholic, he has three beers while waiting for his wife, he leaves after dinner supposedly to gas up the car but he gets whiskey instead.  Traffic is heavy and there are lots of accidents at this time of year.  Antoine stops at a bar along the way to drink more, Helene is getting increasingly angry.  He drives further and stops at another bar, Helene tells him she will take the car herself and continue the trip alone but he takes the keys.  He comes back to the car but she's not in the car?  In addition to all that is already going on, there are police roadblocks searching for an escaped fugitive!
     You want to yank Antoine out of the car (plus beat him up) so Helene can continue the trip by herself.  Antoine is useless and a danger to them and others as a drunken driver.  You don’t know where this is going and it keeps your interest until the end.  4* (I really liked this movie)

105 min, Crime, directed by Cedric Kahn with Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Carole Bouquet, Vincent Deniard, Alain Dion, Olivier Fornara, Damien Givelet.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 83% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Windfall 2010

     In the town of Meredith in upstate New York they have a failing economy because they are a farming town.  Residents are approached by wind power companies, it’s wind, they have a lot, it’s free, it’s green, it must be good?  The town goes to battle over embracing this idea or throwing it out the window.  Neighbors become pitted against each other depending upon which side they are on.
     I didn't know there are a lot of problems with wind power, especially if the wind machines are places where people actually live.  There is a huge expense so the companies want to put up a lot of turbines, they are very big, nearby homes experience the shadow effect of the rotating vanes through their windows and the vibration can go through the house.  Some people are able to move away but others become ill from the side effects.  They can also catch fire, fall over and they throw ice.  4* (I really liked this movie) 

81 min, Doc directed by Laura Israel with Scott Alexander, Frank Bachler, Ron and Sue Bailey, John Barrasso, Rick Beyer, Dan Birnbaum. Keitha Capouya.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.5 out of 10, 72% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Windfall (2001)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shadow of Doubt 1943

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)     Uncle Charlie is very charming but he has hidden secrets, he makes a trip from the East Coast to Santa Rosa CA for a visit with his sister and her family.  She has a daughter also named Charlie, another daughter and a son.  Two detectives follow Uncle Charlie and they suspect him along with another man on the East Coast of being the “Merry Widow Murderer.Wealthy widows have been murdered by one of these men.
     This is very good and interesting to see the cars and the towns of 1943.  There was an actual Merry Widow Murder, Earle Leonard Nelson.  The screenplay was based on a story by Gordon McDowell and written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville (Mrs. Hitchcock).  The setting for this film is Santa Rosa CA.  4* ( I really liked this movie)

68 min, Mystery directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Joseph Cotton, Teresa Wright, MacDonald Carey, Henry Travers, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn, Wallace Ford, Edna May Wonacott.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 8.1 out of 10, 100% critic 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)     A small group of British pensioners need to dramatically change their lives and where they live.  Each one sees a brochure for the Marigold Hotel, this may be the answer to their problems.  They first meet at the airport for their flight to India, things change when weather causes them to take a bus and then an unusual means of local transportation.  The hotel is nothing like they expect, the renovations advertised haven’t taken place?
     This is good, each person has a different reason for going to the hotel and each gets a different result from being there.  A lot of unexpected events and cultural clashes so you don't know where this is going.  Good acting too.  4* (I really liked this movie) 

124 min, Drama directed by John Madden with Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Robinson, Celia Imrie.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 77% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

To Gillian on her 37th Birthday 1996

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996)     This film is based on a play.  Gillian climbed the mast of the sailboat because it was her 35th birthday but the boat hit a wave and the mast broke.  It was reckless and she fell to her death.  It’s two years later and David has been spending a lot of his time at the beach with the spirit of his dead wife?  He’s made the beach house into a permanent home with their daughter, Rachel.  On Labor Day weekend, Gillian’s sister Esther, her husband and a friend come for the holiday.  Esther doesn’t think these circumstances are healthy for Rachael.   
      I was surprised this was shown in theaters because it screams Hallmark or Lifetime.  Very soap opera, slightly interesting.  3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Drama directed by Michael Pressman with Peter Gallagher, Claire Danes, Kathy Baker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Wendy Crewson, Bruce Altman.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.6 out of 10, 14% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Dictator 2012

The Dictator (2012)    A satirical story of a dictator in an Eastern country.  The Republic of Wadiya is oppressively ruled by Hafez Aladeen.  The UN summons him to New York to talk about his country's nuclear weapons program.  He hates democracy but he comes to America which leads to outrageous cultural differences.
     I’d estimate that about 75% of the jokes and set-ups are funny and 25% are just OK but these are pretty good odds for a comedy.  Cohen is totally CRAZY and Faris was reluctant to go along with some of his ideas.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

83min, Comedy directed by Larry Charles with Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, J.B. Smoove, Aasif Mandvi, Adeel Akhtar.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 58% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bel Ami 2012

Bel Ami (2012)     Guy de Maupassant is a destitute young soldier determined to better his circumstances.  He looks into the window of a restaurant and sees what the wealthy are eating compared to his lone crust of bread.  He meets an influential man who turns his situation around but it is the women he meets that help him retain this lifestyle.
     I wonder if Pattinson will ever be in any movie that is any good?  Water for Elephants is as close as he has come to a good movie.  I think the idea and plot are terrible, I do like the women actors.  3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Drama directed by Nick Ormerod, Declan Donnellan with Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colm Meaney.   

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.4 out of 10, 28% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1: The Abbey Grange 1984

Return of Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1: The Empty House/The Abbey Grange ()     Holmes is called to a manor house to investigate the brutal murder of a country lord.  The weapon used was a fireplace poker and his wife was left bruised and battered.
     At least I did not have to hear the name Professor Moriarity again!!  This could not keep my interest either.  It's very dry and you don't care about the people.  3* (This movie is OK)

60 min, Crime directed by Peter Hammond with Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Paul Williamson, Conrad Phillips, Anne-Louise Lambert, Zulema Dene, Oliver Tobias, Nicolas Chagrin.

Note:  Blockbuster 4 ½*, imdb 7.9 out of 10. 

A Rather English Marriage 1998

Product Details     Reggie is a former officer in the British Armed Forces, Roy also served but he was a NCO.  Both of their wives become ill and are next to each other in the same hospital.  Strangely, both of the wives die within a few minutes of each other.  Reggie and Roy are both visited by a hospital worker to see how they are coping on their own.  Reggie doesn’t know how to do anything around his house and Roy can do just about everything.  They decide to join forces with Roy moving into Reggie’s larger home.
     This has funny moments even with the somber beginning.  There are flashbacks to their lives when they were all younger.  Reggie’s wife really knew his basic character and she left him the home as long as he is alive with $10,000 pounds a year as his allowance.  She knew to be wary of fortune hunters taking up with Reggie.  4* (I really liked this movie)

104 min, Drama directed by Paul Seed with Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Joanna Lumley, John Light, Joanna Scanian, Priyanga Burford, Ursula Howells, Katie Carr.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Chateau Meroux 2011

The Chateau Meroux (2011)     Wendy has been estranged from her father for a long time.  She gets a phone call telling her he has died and left her the Chateau Meroux in Napa Valley.  She’s very excited until she learns there is a million dollar credit line, the wine is good but too expensive to sell very many bottles.  The competition is a box wine vineyard with a very devious owner who wants to buy the Chateau.  Filmed in Oakdale, CA.
     This is very predictable, beautiful scenery and beautiful cheerful actors but no depth.  Warning, chick flick!!  This screams Hallmark or Lifetime.  3* (This movie is OK)
94 min, Drama directed by Bob Fugger with Maria Sokoloff, Barry Watson, Christopher Lloyd, Jeffrey Weissman, Amanda Righetti, Taylor Negron, Daniel Bastreghi, Stephen Pawley, Nathaniel Scott, Jeffrey Weissman.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 4.7 out of 10, no critic 26% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.