Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding 2011

     Diane is an attorney with two teenagers, her husband suddenly asks her for a divorce.  She felt they had grown apart but just had not done anything about it.  She decides to take the teens and visit her mother to get away from everything for a little while.  She has never seen eye-to-eye with her hippie mother Grace.  They are totally opposite in personality and lifestyle, Diane is straight-laced and lives in Manhattan.  Grace is the unofficial counter cultural community leader in upstate New York.   Together they try to search for common ground.
     This movie is so predictable and bland with nothing original.  Like a smoothie of every movie of this type blended together with a waste of any available acting talent added for seasoning.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

92 min, Drama directed by Bruce Beresford with Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Kyle MacLachlan, Chace Crawford, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.4 out of 10, 29% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  The casting of the actors playing each character is as predictable as the film!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Happy Event 2011

     Nic works at a video rental store and Barbara rents movies from the store.  Nic wants to ask her for a date and his co-worker keeps pushing him to ask her but he’s shy.  They show each other film titles expressing their different sides of the dating issue.  They do being seeing each other, rent an apartment together and decide to have a baby.  Everything starts to change before Lea arrives but it really changes after she is born.
     This is very realistic about how life is different after having a baby.  Barbara is asleep at the table for breakfast and Nic complains when workers come early on Sunday to fix the refrigerator.  Characters you can relate to, a believable and everyday story without a sugar coating.   3 ½*

107 min, Drama directed by Remi Bezancon with Lousie Bourgoin, Pio Marmai, Josiane Balasko, Thierry Fremont, Gabrielle Lazure, Firmine Richard.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kiss Me (With Every Hearbeat) 2011

     Mia and Tim have just gotten engaged after seven years together as a couple.  They are excited to announce their news at a family gathering for her father’s engagement party.  Mia has not been comfortable visiting her father since his divorce from her mother.  Mia is happy to see her younger brother Oskar but not sure about bride-to-be Elizabeth and her daughter Frida.  Mia discovers she really likes Frida and this could have serious consequences for her engagement and also her father’s marriage. 
     Filled with interesting and different situations, beautiful scenery, complicated relationships, stress, decisions to be made with people getting hurt.  I thought the acting was good, characters relatable, rings true to life and good overall.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

105 min, Drama directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining with Ruth Vega Fernandez, Liv Mjones, Lena Endre, Krister Henriksson, Joakim Natterqvist, Tom Ljungman, Josefine Tengblad.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.3 out of 10, 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  Krister Henriksson has played Wallander in 27 episodes of the first series.  Lena Endre has had a role in the later Wallander for 13 episodes. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blown Away 1994

     Ryan Gaerity blows himself out of a detention center in Northern Ireland. He only has revenge on his mind against Jimmy Dove.  Jimmy works for the Boston Bomb Squad and he’s planning on retiring from the bomb life.  In Jimmy’s Irish past, he was known as Liam and he learned about bomb making 20 years ago from Ryan.  They were working for the IRA and Liam messed up their last bomb effort because innocent civilians were among the intended victims.  Ryan was sent to prison, Liam ran away, became Jimmy Dove and went to the United States.
     Features ntricate and complicated bomb construction using unusual equipment.  Jones has the role of crazed bomber down to a T.  This does have you on the edge of your seat at times.  You are wondering what is going to happen and it’s nice to see the actors in their younger days.  Slightly dated, especially in the opening scenes, which drains some of the energy.  3* (This movie is OK)  

121 min, Mystery directed by Stephen Hopkins with Jeff Bridges, Tommy Lee Jones, Lloyd Bridges, Forest Whitaker, Suzy Amis, Caitlin Clarke, John Finn.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.0 out of 10, 28% critic 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Absolute Power 1997

     This film was adapted from a novel by David Badlacci.  A cat burglar becomes involved in a cat-and-mouse game because of a murder and cover-up.  Luther witnesses a man being stabbed in the arm by a woman and then two other men enter the room and shoot her!  Now what does the burglar do, he can’t really go to the police?  Detective Seth Frank wants to have a talk with Luther, he’s not surprised, he always gets an interview after a large heist in the area.  Luther decides it may be time to leave the country until he learns the identity of the people involved in what he saw.
     Twists and turns, Luther is cool, he has many disguises and knows his game.  Everyone wants to put a gun on him but he could be slick enough to turn the tables?  This is good and interesting.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)  

121 min, Mystery directed by Clint Eastwood with Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Clint Eastwood, Judy Davis, Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.6 out of 10, 45% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Across the Pacific 1942

Product Details     Rick Leland is court-marshaled out of the army because he stole money and didn’t have time to replace it before being caught.  He tries to enlist in the Canadian Army but his reputation has followed him and they refuse.  As persona-non-grata, he boards a Japanese ship bound for the Orient in late 1941.  He meets Alberta Marlow and they take a shine to each other.  She gets very sea sick in the beginning and doesn’t want to ever see him again.  Then she gets sunburned and remembers she never wanted to see him again.
     Throughout this film I kept making comments, it’s really not this way but it’s this way, I know he’s being followed, I know she’s being followed.  If my viewing partner becomes blind or can’t figure simple things out, I will be there to point everything out one scene at a time.  This is good, a lot of action for it’s day and intrigue.   4* (I really liked this movie)

97 min, Action directed by John Huston with Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Charles Halton, Victor Sen Yung, Roland Got.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  This film reunites the cast of the Maltese Falcon, Huston, Bogart, Astor and Greenstreet.  A GREAT combination of acting! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Paperboy 2012

     This film is based on a novel by Pete Dexter and directed by Lee Daniels who also did Precious.  Ward Jansen is an idealistic reporter from the Miami Times who comes back to his hometown of Lately Florida to investigate the murder and execution conviction of Hillary Van Wetter.  Hillary is accused of killing the local sheriff who had a lot of enemies in the town.  Ward enlists the help of his younger brother Jack and another reporter Yardley Acheman.  Charlotte Bless has been writing Hillary in prison, they have never met, are engaged to be married and she thinks they are in love.  She brings the team all the newspaper articles and their letters to help them clear Hillary. 
     I did not know anything about this film before watching it except who  the actors were.  This is a very rough, tough and unexpected film that was booed at Cannes in May.  The characters played by Kidman and Cusack are very different from their previous roles.  Really deserves the R rating for strong sexual content, violence and language.  Do not start watching this movie thinking it's about a hometown paperboy delivering his papers!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

107 min, Drama directed by Lee Daniels with John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Mathew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Scott Glenn, Ned Bellamy.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 39% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  Is Mathew McConaughey going to be in every other movie like Jessica Chastain?  One reviewer said this is “great trash” and should be appreciated as such!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where the Rivers Flow North 1994

     Adapted from a novel by Howard Frank Mosher about Kingdom County Vermont in 1927.  Noel Lourdes has a lifetime lease on the property where his cabin is built.  He’s being pressured to sell to a power company constructing the region’s first hydroelectric dam.  Noel is offered a large amount of cash for a man who earns a meager living as a logger and cedar-oil harvester.  Bangor is an Indian woman who lives with him and she encourages him to take the money.
     Noel is one tough guy with a hook in place of one hand.  Bangor, the Indian woman is almost as tough as Noel!!  The times and the country are very harsh and one mistake can cost you everything.  Very slow moving, deliberate and understated with unusual characters but I almost couldn’t finish this film.  3* (This movie is OK)

105 min, Drama directed by Jay Craven with Rip Torn, Tantoo Cardinal, Bill Raymond, Michael J. Fox, John Griesemer, Mark Margolis, Treat Williams.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 100% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Human Experience 2008

    Adventurers and friends embark on a journey asking questions about life in different situations.  Their first project is to be homeless in New York, live on the streets and go without readily available food and shelter.  This is a tough first assignment in the harsh winter temperatures, asking for food and sleeping in cardboard boxes near strangers in their own boxes.  Their next journey is working with orphans in Peru.  The children cannot live with their families for different reasons.  Some have difficult physical limitations and others have parents who don’t want them or can’t take care of them.  Their next experience is a visit to a forest leper colony in Ghana Africa.  The people are suffering but they are happy.
     This was a worthwhile journey both emotionally and intellectually for all the participants.  Stepping beyond yourself requires courage and it does make you think about your family and your own situation.  Comparisons encourage gratefulness for abundance and a more outward focus.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 Min, Doc directed by Charles Kinnane with Jeffrey and Clifford Azize, Michael Campo, Matthew Sanchez, Franklin Ojeda Smith. 

Note:  Blockbuster 2*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  I looked up leprosy since I thought this was a curable disease.  It can be treated since it is cause by a bacteria, a single lesion can be treated with one dose of rifampicin, olfoxacin and minocycline.  Multibacilary can be treated with rifampicin, dapsone and clofazimine taken over 12 months.  There are currently nearly 250,000 new cases a year. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Queen of Versailles 2012

     David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, made a lot of money selling timeshares.  A lot of low interest money was out there just waiting for him to take in 2008.  His employees sold the timeshares to ordinary people with as little at $50 down.  He needed a lot of circulating money to be able to carry the note on the loans.  He lives in a 30,000 square foot Florida home with his wife Jackie and their six children plus their niece.  They are building another home with 90,000 square feet and sparing no expense to fashion it after the Palace of Versailles.  Everything starts to change when the economy collapses due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  The cheap money starts to dry up.
   David is 73 years old and Jackie is 45 years old, Jackie spends a LOT of money.  She has a limo driver, nannies, housekeepers and a cook.  This is very interesting, especially the outrageous amount of squandered of money.  Showcases a staggering amount of mindless gathering of possessions.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
100 min, Doc directed by Lauren Greenfield with David and Jackie Siegel, Virginia Nebab.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 95% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Beloved 2011

     Madeleine works at a high-fashion shoe store in Paris of the 60’s, she loves the shoes and she takes a pair of high heels.  Out on the street she is mistaken for a streetwalker.  She meets Jaromil, he is a customer, doctor and native of Czechoslovakia taking classes in Paris.  She follows him the Prague, they marry and have a daughter, Vera.  When the Russians invade Prague, she to returns to Paris with Vera and without Jaromil.  They divorce and she marries again.  Her adult daughter Vera looks back on the lives of her parents both with regret and romanticism.  Vera is unable to commit to a relationship, she has an on-off boyfriend but obsesses over a gay musician.
     There are a LOT of problems with this film!  Too long, spans from 1968 to the near present and alternates between the characters singing/reciting 60’s pop tunes and heavy drama?  I could not pay attention during the odd singing scenes.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so) 
139 min, Drama directed by Christophe Honore with Chiara Mastrianni, Catherine Deneuve, Ludivine Sagnier, Louis Garrel, Rasha Bukvic, Paul Schneider.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.9 out of 10, 55% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.  
Special Note:  Chiara Mastroianni is Catherine Deneuve’s real daughter.  Her father is Marcello Mastroianni.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Taken 2 2012

     Former CIA agent Bryan Mills is trying to work with his ex-wife Lenore and his daughter Kim to get her ready to pass her driver’s test.  She’s not home when he goes to pick her up so what does he do?  He activates the GPS on her phone and goes right to her boyfriend’s house.  He promises not to do a complete background check on the boyfriend.  Bryan invites Lenore and Kim to go to Istanbul, he will be working for three days and then he can spend time with them if they would like to meet him there.  They don’t get very much quality time before a group kidnaps Bryan and Lenore.  They are seeking revenge because Bryan killed the son of an important crime boss even though he was an evil and corrupt man.  This time Kim is not taken but she will have to help rescue her mother and father.
     The first Taken was very good and Bryan Mills took names and killed everyone involved in kidnapping his daughter.  This time everything seems like warmed over leftovers.  It is interesting to see how Bryan counts and pays attention to the sounds as he is taken in a van to a different location.  He has Kim plot his possible course on a map and then set off grenades that he can hear for her to be able to locate them.
Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 21% critic 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  If you were kidnapped once before in Paris, would you travel to Istanbul for any reason?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Magic Mike 2012

     Adam goes with Mike to a male strip club in Tampa, Florida.  Adam decides he would be interested in doing this for a living and since Mike is the star, he will make a good teacher.  Mike is 30 years old and works as a roofer by day and he works with Adam who is not 21 yet.  Dallas runs the Kings of Tampa Club and he’s not sure about hiring an under-age performer.  Adam becomes a huge hit the first time he’s on the stage but he lets it go to his head and starts to make bad decisions.  This begins to affect and worry his sister Brooke.  Mike would like to get out of this business and start a furniture-making business but his credit rating won’t allow a bank to give him a loan.
      OK, how much beefcake do you want to see in a movie?  There is more than enough in this film!  This is a good concept but the screenplay does not have much going for it except stripping.  The characters are weak and there isn’t much substance.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

110 min, Drama directed by Steven Soderbergh with Channing Tatum, Gregory Jacobs, Nick Wechsler, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 80% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.  
Special Note:  Channing Tatum was a male stripper before he became successful as an actor.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Charles and Anne Lindbergh: Alone Together 2005

Biography: Charles and Anne Lindbergh - Alone Together (2005)     Charles Lindbergh was a very shy and reserved man who he became a hero after he flew across the Atlantic.  Anne Morrow was also shy and didn’t like to call attention to herself.  Charles waited ten months after meeting her before he called to ask her to go flying with him.  They both felt away from the pressures of the world when they were in the air.  They were very happy until the kidnapping of their first son, Charles Lindbergh Junior.  Anne felt she needed to press down her emotions in order for Charles to continue to suppress his feelings.  After the baby’s body was found, Anne went into deep and severe depression with continual tears.  They never recovered from this severe blow to themselves as individuals and to their marriage as a couple.
     I enjoyed watching this, a lot of information about them that I didn’t know.  Archival film clips and interviews are included.  Many of the books written by Anne are still in print.  I would like to read them to learn more about them and their families.  Anne lived to be 95 and died in 2001, Charles lived to be 72 years old and died in 1974.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
100 min, Biography.  Note:  Blockbuster 3*.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heist 2001

     Writer and director David Mamet patterned this film after the gangster films of the 30’s and the 40’s.  He used vintage scores in the soundtrack.  Joe Moore and his team pull off a complex jewelry robbery but they get stiffed by their fence on their cut of the profits.  They decide to do another job but they aren’t happy about it and they aren’t happy to have Jimmy Silk among their team.  He is the nephew of their long time fence Bergman.  No one can be trusted and one false move at any time can be deadly.   
     This film has a lot of action plus twists and turns.  The only thing I didn’t like is the heist lingo gets tiresome after a while.  For example, they decide not to do the second job and they say the job “is burned.”  That means the job is a no go.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

109 min, Action directed by David Mamet with Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone, Jiim Frangione.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.5 out of 10. 65% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Americano 2011

     Martin was born in Los Angeles and lived there for his early childhood until his father took him to France to live with him.  Matrin is an adult now and he gets a phone call telling him that his mother has died.  He will need to fly to LA because he has an American passport and his father does not.  There is an apartment that needs to be sold and his mother wanted to be buried in France.  Martin feels his mother didn’t want him and he doesn’t have memories of living with her until he learns of her death.  He gets very mixed up when he gets to LA and tries to find the woman that used to be the young girl he played with.  She had kept in contact with his mother until shortly before her death.
     OK, I must cut Martin some slack (I don’t want to) because he believes his mother didn’t love him but he goes to Mexico to find Lola.  He drives a beautiful vintage red Mustang convertible belonging to his mother’s friend and neighbor.  Why does he think this car will still be on the street in Tijuana where he parked it when he returns from trying to find Lola?  It would be amazing for it to still be in the parking space in LA!!  Interesting from the beginning but begins to wander when it goes across the border.  3* (This movie is OK)  (I give the car 4*)

106 min, Drama directed by Mathieu Demy with Mathieu Demy, Geraldine Chaplin, Chiara Mastroianni, Carlos Bardem, Salma Hayek, Sabine Mamou.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 4.8 out of 10, 50% critic 31% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.  
Special Note:  I thought it was Geraldine Chaplin in the role of the mother's friend and neighbor.  She will be 69 years old this year and has been an actress since 1952 and she is fluent in French and Spanish.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Found Memories 2011

Product Details       In the small community of Jotuomba in Brazil’s Paraiba Valley, every person has an important role.  Madalena bakes bread to stack carefully in Antonio’s shop as he makes coffee.  The church bell summons the villagers at noon for mass.  Life goes on in a constant, smooth pattern with the weather the only change.  Rita has been traveling through their valley following the railroad tracks.  She stops at Madalena’s house to ask for a place to stay.  All the people are very wary of Rita in the beginning but she begins taking their pictures.  This draws them too her and they begin to tell their stories.
     This is interesting and good but it may be the slowest and most quiet movie I’ve ever successfully finished.  Usually, I will give up and go on to something else.  I admit, there were times when I used fast forward to be able to get though some scenes.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

98 min, Drma directed by Julia Murat with Lisa Favero, Sonia Guedes, Ricardo Merkin, Luiz Serra.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 89% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Celeste and Jesse Forever 2011

     Married best friends Celeste and Jesse are getting a divorce.  They have been separated for six months but they still do a lot together every day.  They don’t even think about it until their engaged best friends tell them that they can’t take their togetherness any more!?  Celeste is a driven Type A marketing whiz and Jesse is an unemployed struggling artist with a slight case of irresponsibility.  Jesse begins dating again and Celeste starts going on dates of her own.  Most of her dates are not going very well.  Jesse seems to be having better luck.
      A lot of drama packed into 92 minutes.  Seems to have the need to be constantly in situations.  Needs more character development and less scattered unremarkable moments.  3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Drama directed by Lee Toland Krieger with Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Rob Huebel, Elijah Wood, Shira Lazar, Emma Roberts.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 69% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  This could be a continuation of 2 Days in New York with no children and the relatives have gone back to France. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2 Days in New York 2011

     Marion and Mingus are together after failed relationships with other partners.  Marion has a young son and Mingus has a daughter.  They have been successful at creating a happy family together until Marion’s relatives come for a visit.  Marion’s father, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend are a lot to contend with.  The fighting, arguing and hitting add a lot of tension to their household.  The language difference and cultural differences further complicate events.
     It is difficult to keep a connection with the characters since there is so much manic energy that you just want all it to stop.   It’s everything you don’t want in your own life.  There are some funny moments but they are not enough to compensate and there are too many candid sexual references.  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min, Drama directed by Julie Delpy with Chris Rock Albert and Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon, Kate Burton, Dylan Baker.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.0, out of 10, 65% critic 46% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  Julie Delpys real father, Albert Delpy, plays her father in this film.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Won’t Back Down 2012

     A teacher and a mother are determined to change the path of their children’s failing inner city school.  This is the future of their children and they step up against a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy.  Single mother Jamie’s daughter has a learning disability, she’s having difficulty with her under performing teacher and Jamie tries to get her transferred to Nona Alberts’ class.  The Principal says this cannot be done and Malia will need to stay where she is.  Jamie convinces Nona that they can do something together about changing this school.
     This film is “inspired by actual events” but some of the depictions may not be true and are used in a way to bring the story along.  Since this is completely about a large problem in America, shouldn’t it be true along the way?  I thought this was good until I learned that the simple phrase “inspired by actual events” can be stretched out of proportion and some of the scenes probably didn’t happen.  That puts a real damper on the idea of what all the parents and teachers were trying to accomplish in this film.  I was really hoping that two people would be able to fight and turn around a school and a community!!  3* (This movie is OK)

121 min, Drama directed by Daniel Barnz with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Rosie Perez, Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac, Emily Alyn Lind, Dante Brown. 

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 33% critic 61% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Well-Digger’s Daughter 2011

     Pascal has been alone since his wife passed away but he has five daughters at home.  He is a well digger as his profession and they are a poor family.  His oldest daughter, Patricia was raised in Paris.  He’s glad to have her home to help with the younger girls.  He would like for her to marry his assistant Felipe.  World War I is just starting, Patricia meets pilot Jacques Mazel and they fall in love.  Jacques is the son of a wealthy merchant in their town.  He is supposed to see Patricia the next day but he’s suddenly called to take the place of another pilot.  He asks his mother to take her a letter and explain. 
     This is good, old-fashioned, very beautiful countryside in Provence of 1914, good plot and acting.  My only complaint is the subtitles are in white and the print is small.  When the background is also white, you can’t read the titles?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
107 min, Drama directed by Daniel Auteuil with Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Kad Merad, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Sabine Azema, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Emile Cazenave.
Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.   

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Guilty by Suspicion 1991

     This film depicts the political fallout from the McCarthy Era Hollywood blacklist.  It’s the 1950’s and a lot of film people are being called in for interrogation.  If you had anything to do with the Communist party at any time in your life, you are in for a real ride.  You MUST implicate and name everyone even if they had nothing to do with communism just to have names to give the committee.  An actress has her child removed from her custody because she was named as a communist.  Considered to be an unfit environment.  If you don’t cooperate, you don’t work again.  Even if you are innocent and you are named, you don’t work again.
    This is good, I knew some stories about this time but not this much information.  It made me wonder if the Rosenberg’s were really guilty when they were executed as spies? I knew I recognized Martin Scorsese but I couldn't place him?  It's his distinctive eyebrows!!  4* (I really liked this movie) 

105 min, Drama directed by Irwin Winkler with Robert De Niro, Annette Bening, George Wendt, Patricia Wettig, Martin Scorsese, Sam Wanamaker, Chris Cooper.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 65% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hi-Lo Country 1998

     Max Evans based his novel on Americans trying to live the Old West lifestyle in the early Cold War days.   Two World War II veterans own land and make their living on the lush and open New Mexico countryside.  Pete and Big Boy are best friends.  Pete wants a simple life on his farm.  Big Boy is a big-drinker always looking to stir up trouble and a fight.  Mona is a beautiful woman married to one of the few men who stayed behind during the war.  Pete meets her first and he’s instantly drawn to her.  He finds out soon after that she has started seeing Big Boy. 
     You know there is going to be big trouble when two friends fall for the same woman.  There is already enough trouble with Bog Boy always pushing others down into the dirt, even though there are some who need this treatment.  I was glad I do not eat beef after watching this film!  The material is interesting plus seeing the actors as their younger selves.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

114 min, Drama directed by Stephen Frears with Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette, Penelope Cruz, Billy Crudup, Robert Knott, Sam Elliott.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.0 out of 10, 56% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Trishna 2011:

     This film is a contemporary treatment of the novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  Trishna is a nineteen-year-old woman living in Rajasthan, India.  She meets Jay, the son of a rich British hotel owner.  Her large family is very poor; her father picks up fruits and vegetables for delivery.  He falls asleep at the wheel and runs into a bus.  Her family needs money after he is disabled and the Jeep is totaled.  Jay asks Trishna to work in a hotel owned by his father.  Since he is so handsome, charming and she doesn’t have a lot of choices, she accepts.  In the beginning, everything is going very well until Jay starts blurring the boundaries of their employer and employee relationship. 
     There was a lot of potential in this film but it relies too heavily on the tried and true formula of rich boy and poor girl.  Trishna and Jay become just paper cutouts instead of real people you can relate to.  More a story of beauty and the beast except the beast changes without explanation into a real beast.  3* (This movie is OK)

113 min, Drama directed by Michael Winterbottom with Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed, Meeta Vashisht, Harish Khanna, Roshan Seth, Leela Madhauram.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.6 out of 10, 67% critic 56% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Red Lights 2012

     Psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson and her physicist assistant Tom Buckley investigate paranormal occurrences.  They specialize in exposing frauds and they don’t believe true examples exist.  They also teach a university class on how to spot “red lights” which are clues revealing the trickery behind the so-called supernatural.  Mystic Simon Silver has been away from the public eye for many years since his number one critic died at his last appearance.  He’s suddenly back on the scene and scheduling various venues across the country.  Tom tries to convince Margaret to go after him but she believes he was investigated fully during his first career.  Strange things start to happen to Tom and Margaret soon after his insistence that they go after Silver. 
     I would not think Robert DeNiro as a spoon bending blind clairvoyant in my ideas for movie castings?  The first two-thirds of this film are very good but the last one-third leaves you going HUH?  Everything grinds to a halt and runs away from the substantial groundwork established in the beginning.  3* (This movie is OK)

113, Drama directed by Rodrigo Cortes with Sigourney Weaver, Robert DeNiro, Cillian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, Joely Richardson, Toby Jones.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 29% critic 36% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.