Friday, May 31, 2013

Killing them Softly 2012

     The local criminal economy collapses after two amateurs hold up a mob protected card game.  This happened once before and everyone is wondering if Markie was involved this time even though he wasn’t the last time.  A hit man is hired to track them down and bring back criminal order.  Jackie knows one of the guys fingered in the robbery and he wants to bring in Mickey from out of town to take care of this one.  Jackie doesn't like killing people he knows because it gets messy with their crying. Mickey used to be a good hit man but he’s gone soft, drinks too much and can’t take care of the job he was brought in to do.
     Let’s kill everyone having even a remote connection to the hold up and then there are no worries about anyone being left out there!!  This may be one of the worst movies I’ve seen despite Pitt, Gandolfini, Liotta, Jenkins and Curatola.  Gandolfini and Curatola have been together before in The Sopranos.  So much idle chatter, a plodding pace, dumb/physically dirty criminals and excessive violence.  You want to blast all of them just to shut them up.  The only good scene from 98 minutes is a slow-motion drive-by shooting.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

98 min, Comedy directed by Andrew Dominik with Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy, Vincent Curatola.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, 6.4 out of 10, 76% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Babette’s Feast 1987

Product Details     Based upon a story written by Isak Dinesen for the Saturday Evening Post.  This film takes place in 1871 Denmark, Fillippa and Martine are two adult sisters living in an isolated fishing village with their father.  He is the honored pastor of a small Protestant church.  The sisters are very attractive and some suitors some to the church just for a chance to see them.  They both were able marry and move away but they chose to stay with their father.  Many years go by and a French woman arrives on their doorstep, she begs them to take her into their home.  She was sent to them after her husband and son were killed in France, she was almost killed too.  Achille Papin sent Babbette to the village, he had been a suitor to one of the sisters.
     This is very good, the devotion of the sister’s is heart warming and also their attention to the church after their father passes.  They are very happy for Babbette to live and work with them even though they are too poor to pay her a wage.  4* (I really liked this movie)

102 min, Drama directed by Gabriel Axel with Stephane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Brigitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Phillippe Lafont, Bibi Andersson, Ghita Norby.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 95% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

1911 2011

     This film represents the 100th milestone of movies for Jackie Chan.  It is a historical drama set in 1911 as the Chinese people begin to revolt against the Qing dynasty.  As a child emperor takes the throne, they have ruled the country for 250 years.  The real ruler of the country is Empress Dowager Longyu.  Famine is sweeping the land and warring factions fight in battle.  The army of the throne begins to target the rebels and the waning dynasty begins rampant trading with foreign countries.  Huang Xing returns from studies of modern warfare in Japan.  He realizes the only hope for his country is to topple the Qing dynasty but this action will be devastating for the common people.
     I found it very difficult to pay attention to this film.  It goes back and forth between intense battle scenes and discussions.  Seems like too little payoff for reading the subtitles and I don’t know much more about the revolution.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)
99 min, Action directed by Jackie Chan, Li Zhang with Jackie Chan, Lee Bing Bing, Winston Chao, Joan Chen, Jaycee Chan, Dennis Tao, Wu Jiang, Ning Jing.
Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.8 out of 10, 9% critic 32% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hope 2011

     Fred is a jobless slacker who has failed to launch from his parents home.  His family has an intervention to push him to get a job and move out.  His sister arranges a job interview and she was asked to house sit but sends Fred instead.  His first night away, he narrowly misses hitting bunny EB in front of this house.  EB plays up his injures for a place to stay and becomes a thorn in Fred’s side on his new start in life.
     This is very funny, a combination of people and animation.  EB is very cute and he wants to play the drums instead of being the next Easter Bunny.  In one scene EB pretends he’s a stuffed bunny to get attention from Fred’s sister.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

96 min, Family & kids directed by Tim Hill with James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.3 out of 10, 26% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Nobody Walks 2012

     Martine is 23 year-old woman from New York, she comes to Southern California to work with Peter on the sound for an art film she’s making.  Everything begins to get complicated when Peter becomes very attracted to Martine.  Julie, Peter’s wife, is a psychiatrist and she can’t help but see what is happening.  David is Peter’s assistant and he also likes Martine but Julie’s 16 year-old daughter, Kolt has a crush on David. 
     This film is not very good, Martine doesn’t seem to be able to set boundaries for herself, she’s careless and doesn’t consider the feelings of anyone else.  Everything happening seems detached and unimportant.  She feels Julie should still be happy she came to visit in spite of her behavior.  Of course, Peter can’t be left off the hook for his own shortcomings too.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

92 min, Drama directed by Ry Russo-Young with John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemare DeWitt, India Ennenga, Dylan McDermott, Rhys Wakefield.  

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.1 out of 10, 37% critic 26% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Promised Land 2012

     Steve and Sue are sent by Global Crosspower Solutions to buy up the rights to drill for natural gas in an economically depressed farming community.  Their first snag is a teacher stands up in their first meeting and expresses his concerns about the process of fracking.  It turns out he is retired and just teaching to fill some time and has been a successful and award winning engineer.  Things are not going well but some of the farmers are willing to sign up because they need the money.  Dustin comes into town and starts a grassroots campaign against Global.  He talks about losing his family farm that they had owned for generations but lost in 9 months after they sold their rights.
     There is a twist in this film that you don’t see coming that changes everything.  Before this change you are convinced everything will go one way.  This seems weak and slightly boring in the sections before the twist.   

107 min, Drama directed by Gus Van Sant with Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy.

Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 51% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook 2012

     Pat is a man with bipolar disorder, he lives in Philadelphia and has spent the previous eight months in a mental hospital.  He moves in with his parents and wants to get back with his wife but she has a restraining order to keep him from contacting her.  He meets Tiffany, she is a depressed and in mourning after the death of her husband.  She knows Pat’s wife and offers to deliver a letter from him to her.
     In the beginning of this film both Pat and Tiffany are so over the top and manic that you wonder if you will trip off line yourself just watching?  They do settle down somewhat further into the film once they unite on a common project.  Pat’s dad has obsessive compulsive disorder and this doesn’t help.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

122 min, Comedy directed by David O. Russell with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.9 out of 10, 92% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, May 24, 2013

God’s Country 1986

God’s Country Film Still

     Originally filmed in 1979 as a PBS television show, the subject is Glencoe, Minnesota, 60 miles west of Minneapolis.  The population at this time was 5,000 with 80% of German origin.  Louis Malle returned in 1985 for a follow-up to see how the people he met and became friends with were doing.  The community was very prosperous in 1979 but in 1985 they are feeling the crises of overproduction by farms.  It’s a no win situation, you need to produce more because the prices are down but the more you produce, the more the prices go down.  There are weekly foreclosures on farms and those still managing to survive are worried about their future.
     This is a very good insight into a rural community with tight knit families and American values.  It was interesting that Malle thought the people were too involved in grass mowing?  He had planned to return before 1985 but he became too involved in other projects.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

90 min, Doc directed by Louis Malle with many residents of Glencoe, Minneapolis.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.4 out of 10, 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  Louis Malle, 10/30/1932 – 11/23/1995, is a French director with a long and varied career.  He is well known for his drama based films but he also had a parallel career filming documentaries.  He felt this kept him involved with the real world.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Giant Mechanical Man 2012

Product Details     Tim is in a relationship with Pauline, he stands on the street as a man with stilts dressed in blue-silver clothing and wearing the same color face paint.  Pauline decides Tim is wasting his life as a living statue that doesn’t pay the bills and she doesn’t want to be with him anymore.  Janice is a temp with a lot of complaints from the employers she’s worked for.  She’s fired, she can’t pay her rent and she moves in with her sister Jill and her husband Brian.  They introduce her to Doug, he’s an author and he thinks he’s a really great guy too.
     This movie is so slow paced it seems like it’s barely moving.  You know how it’s going to end but you wonder if it is ever going to get to the end?  I didn’t see anything funny for this to be called a comedy either?  2* (This movie is so-so)

94 min, Comedy directed by Lee Kirk with Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina, Malin Akerman, Rich Sommer, Lucy Punch, Topher Grace, Bob Odenkirk.

Note:  imdb 6.3 out of 10, 71% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Kid with a Bike 2011

     Cyril is an 11 year-old boy living in an orphanage because his father says he can’t care for him and doesn’t have the money.  Cyril refuses to believe his father doesn’t want him.  He calls and doesn’t believe the disconnected message.  He goes to their apartment and doesn’t believe that his father isn’t still living there until he sees everything is gone.  He doesn’t believe his father sold his bike to another father for his son.  He meets Samantha and she buys his bike back for him.  She agrees to take him on the weekends so he can have some kind of home life.  She doesn’t realize how desperate and difficult he can be.
     Cyril’s father fits the definition of a bum!!  Cyril is really struggling but he is a handful.  I don’t know if I would be able to cope with his behavior even though he needs and deserves someone in his life.  This can be frustrating to watch.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)  

87 min, Drama directed by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne with Cecile De France, Thomas Doret, Jeremie Renier, Fabrizio  Rongione, Egon Di Mateo.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 96% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Toys in the Attic 2009

     This film is made with live action, stop-motion animation and is from the Czech director.  The focus in on a mysterious attic packed with decade’s worth of forgotten items.  The space is divided into the West and the East.  Buttercup is a beautiful doll (she looks like Meryl Streep), she lives in the West and is taken captive by Plaster Head.  He is the despotic Head of State ruler of the Land of Evil in the East.  An army of toys who love Buttercup, including a teddy bear, mechanical mouse and a marionette puppet, set off to stage a rescue attempt.
     This is a not for younger children film and is not rated.  It could lead to a lot of explanations and nightmares.  Some of the themes are very dark and strange mixed in with fairy tale scenes.  Seems very retro and belonging to a much earlier period in time such as the as WWII or the Cold War.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
80 min, Animated, directed by Jiri Barta with Boris Hybner, Joan Cusack, Cary Elwes, Forest Whitaker, Vivian Schilling.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 73% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Impossible 2012

     Inspired by the true story of a family’s experiences during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.  Henry and Maria live in Japan with their three sons, they go on a family Christmas vacation to a nice resort on the coastline.  Just as they begin to settle in and enjoy themselves at the pool, their lives are changed in an instant by a wall of water.  Maria and the oldest son, Lucas are swept away together but they don’t know what has happened to Henry and the two younger boys.
     Since this film was “inspired” by a true story, I checked the details about the real family and this film is true with only minor differences from the actual story.  I found this very real and you are drawn into the mental and physical struggles of the parents, children and others involved in the disaster.  The medical facilities are stretched to their limits and the local area is desperately trying to reunite relatives.  4* (I really liked this movie)

114 min, Drama directed by Juan Antonio Bayona with Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Geraldine Chaplin, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.6 out of 10, 81% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chasing Mavericks 2012

     Based on the true story of surfer Jay Moriarity of Santa Cruz.  Jay asks veteran surfer Frosty to prepare him to surf the Mavericks, legendary mountainous waves that come to the area only under certain weather conditions.  They can kill a surfer who isn't prepared and doesn’t know how to handle their massive power.  During the training they form a bond, Jay’s father left and Frosty begins to fill some of that void.
     This is seems so stiff and nearly without emotion, almost like robots playing the acting roles.  The story is good but stretched to the maximum and many questions about background details of the people go unanswered.  3* (This movie is OK)

116 min, Drama directed by Curtis Hanson, Michael Apted with Gerard Butler, John Weston, Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer, Taylor Handley.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.8 out of 10, 33% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Che Guevara 2005

     Che begins and ends with Guevara as a prisoner in Bolivia.  He is about to be executed following a failed attempt to lead a Communist revolution in Bolivia.  He begins telling his story, in Mexico of the 1950’s, Che and Fidel Castro shared a jail cell and they began planning a revolution in Cuba. Then Che is telling his story to an American reporter in Havana recently after the Communist takeover.  Che portrays Fidel as a great leader who solved many difficulties and problems as the leader of their efforts to free Cuba from dictatorship.  Che spent years in the mountains of various countries leading revolutionaries.  Even though he had studied to be a doctor, he felt he had found his life work in this endeavor.
     This film is difficult to follow with all the moving around in time.  I guess is doesn’t matter where he is or who he is leading because he is doing the same thing?  All I know is he gets sick and he gets shot a LOT!!  The victory in Cuba provided an example to many nations in Latin America to to change their governments with mixed results.  3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Bio directed by Josh Evans with Eduardo Noriega, Enrico Lo Verso, Paula Garces, Sergio D’Amato, Charis Michelsen, Cara Ortiz.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ocean Heaven 2010

     Sam is a widowed father raising his autistic son David.  His mother died when he was just seven years old and now he is 21 years old.  Sam is suffering from terminal liver cancer and he doesn’t know what to do about David.  He has searched for homes but there doesn’t seem to be one able to take David.  Sam tries to teach David necessary life skills to live on his own without his father.
     This film is a change of pace for a martial artist, acting without any fighting in every scene.  Draws you in to Sam’s life of dedication, patience, caring, love and a lot of struggles.   I’m not sure about the accuracy of the portrayal of autism which probably varies by the individual but this seems very real.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

94 min, Drama directed by Xiao Lu Xue with Jet Li, Zhang Wen, Lunmei Kwai, Zhu Yuanyuan, Dong Yong, Yan Minqiu, Gwei Lun-Mei, Ran Chen.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 82% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Broken City 2013

     Billy Taggart was formerly a New York police officer but he went to trial over a shooting.  Now he has a private eye business of taking pictures for clients.  Some become deadbeats and he has a tough time collecting money from them without a lot of threats.  The mayor is running for reelection and he hires Billy to follow his wife.  This seams straightforward in the beginning but Billy uncovers layers of political corruption.  He becomes a pawn in the chess game instead.
     I thought this would be good considering the actors but all the secrets leave you wondering plus not caring.  All the loose ends are probably not tied up but what does it matter?  Was there a script or was this made up as they went along?  Weak and disappointing.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

109 min, Crime directed by Allen Hughes with Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 30% critic 44% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  The only good scene is Wahlberg getting beaten up and not saying, “please stop hitting me” like another character in the same situation.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Previous Engagement 2008

     Julia and her husband Jack go on a second honeymoon vacation in Malta.  One complication, Julia didn’t tell Jack that she had made a date 25 years ago to meet Alex at a café in Malta.  Julia heads for the café but finds there is a flower shop at this location instead.  She orders coffee at a different café nearby, settles in to wait but needs to use the facilities after drinking a lot of coffee.  She asks the server to wait outside and look for a man looking for someone?  He has to get an emergency glass of water for another customer and misses the man.  Julia sees his back and follows him to a hotel but sees him with a younger woman.
     I didn’t think this is funny and the character played by Juliet Stevenson is always in a muddle, either with people or with conversations.  Frantic, no balance, without grace and chaos reigns.  Becomes more tiresome with each passing scene and minute.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

118 min, Comedy directed by Joan Carr-Wiggin with Juliet Stevenson, Tcheky Karyo, Daniel Stern, Valerie Mahaffey, Kate Miles, Derek Riddell, Claire Brosseau.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 30% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.   
Special Note:  I don't think it helps this film for Jack to be played by Daniel Stern, he was one of the burglars in Home Alone along with Joe Pesci.  All I could think about was Home Alone every time he was in a scene.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Little White Lies 2010

     Eight friends have gathered together for years for their vacation.  Ludo has an accident on his motorcycle and the group is not sure what to do about the vacation with him in the hospital.  They decide to continue with their plans but for a shortened length of time.  Max is the host this year at his summer home but he has a quick temper and is not having much fun this year.  His wife has to deal with his ranting and bad behavior.  Others in the group are dealing with various levels of romantic disappointment.  Each person has a skeleton of some kind in their closet they are hiding.
     Seems like a long time with not very much going on.  Filled with a lot of arguing, ranting, misunderstandings, hurt feelings and very underwhelming.  I am glad to not be with this group, they overstay their welcome and you cannot dredge up caring for them or their problems.  2* (This movie is just OK)

154 min, Drama directed by Guillaume Canet with Jean Dujardin, Marion Cotillard, Francois Cluzet, Benoit Magimel, Giles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte, Benoit Magimel.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 42% critic 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.   
Special Note:  Their French vacation site is near the largest sand dune in the world.  It is the Great Dune of Pyla and is located in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arachon Bay.  There is 60,000,000 cubic meters volume of sand, 500 meters wide from east to west and 2.7 km in length from north to south, the height is 108 meters above sea level.  Amazingly, I have climbed to the top of this dune!  There is a staircase you can take up the side or you can take the much more difficult path of climbing the sand.  The bay is wonderfully beautiful with finger-like formations of sand due to the currents.

Monday, May 13, 2013

To The Arctic 2012

     Meryl Streep narrates this IMAX documentary following a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs as they travel through the Arctic landscape.  It’s a tough job for a polar bear mother with the ice melting sooner and melting more.  She has to find food for herself and her two cubs plus keep track of hungry male polar bears thinking about eating the cubs.  Polar bears are closely related to the brown bear but they have adapted to the cold temperatures.  Their coats have turned white for camouflage and their noses are longer to smell for food. 
     Very interesting with stunning cinematography showing the bears swimming underwater.  A furry face illustrating climate change is real and ongoing.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

40 min, Doc directed by Greg MacGillivray with Meryl Streep as the narrator.
Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.5 out of 10, 67% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nothing in Common 1986

     David Basner is an executive at an advertising agency.  He likes to kid around with his co-workers and to meet a lot of women.  After 36 years of marriage, David’s mom leaves his dad.  Mom says she was tired of the silence, she’s moving on, she’s happy and she’s gone back to work.  Dad doesn’t know how to cope and he starts having health problems too.  David hasn’t been close to his dad and he hasn’t lived at home for 10 years.
      Not very good considering the cast and the director.  This film splits in two with the beginning a comedy and the second part heavy drama.  Only slightly funny and not much sympathy can be dredged up for a successful womanizer who doesn’t know what to do with his parents.  Just a complication on the placid sea of life!  2 ½* (This movie is just so-so)

118 min, Comedy directed by Garry Marshall with Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason, Eva Marie Saint, Hector Elizondo, Barry Corbin, Bess Armstrong, Sela Ward, John Kapelos.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 56% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 
Special Note:  It is interesting to see a young and slim Tom Hanks.  The clothing, makeup and jewelry for Sela Ward are not attractive but it’s 1986. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wilby Wonderful 2004

     Wilby is located in the Canadian Maritimes and Wilby is the name of the main town on the island.  There are two types of people who live on Wilby, the islanders, people who were born there and the mainlanders.  Dan’s marriage has just collapsed, Buddy and Carol are wondering what has happened to their marriage, Sandra and her daughter Emily are struggling with their relationship.  This is a day in the lives of some of the residents.
      Very slow paced and spread out with several unrelated plots.  This is just mildly entertaining and a lot of the background of the situations is left out.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

99 min, Drama directed by Daniel MacIvor with Maury Chaykin, Paul Gross, Rebecca Jenkins, Daniel MacIvor, Sandra Oh, Callum Keith Rennie, Kathryn MacLellan, Ellen Page.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 71% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another Life 2001

     Based on a true story that was the talk of England in the 1920’s.  In 1913, Edith was a young woman living with her family.  She lived in a fading middle class neighborhood in London with her mother, father and her shy younger sister.  She didn’t want to live this way all her life so she accepted a marriage proposal from Percy Thompson.  He was a little bit better off than Edith but not a very interesting or exciting partner.  After several years Edith began to grow restless and she met Freddy Bywaters again after not seeing him for several years.  He was a former boyfriend and the opposite of Percy.
     I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep watching this in the beginning, the film was laying the groundwork but was not interesting until later on.  The ending was a surprise to me.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

101 min, Drama directed by Philip Goodhew with Natasha Little, Nick Moran, Ican Gruffudd, Imelda Stauton, Rachael Stirling, Tom Wilkinson, Dana Coupland.

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stella Days 2011

     Father Barry has been working for three years with his small congregation in rural Ireland of the 1950’s.  Bishop Hegarty announces a plan to build a series of opulent churches across Ireland.  He likes to build churches and it doesn’t matter if the community can afford the cost.  He also passes on the news that the request of Father Barry to return to Rome has not been granted.  Father Barry decides to raise the church building funds by opening a local movie theater, Stella Cinema
     The screenplay is very lightweight and brings to mind the thought of a Hallmark movie.  It’s difficult to put together the early years of Father Barry and how he became a priest with the wispy flashbacks.  Weighty topics are introduced but with light resolutions.  3* (This movie is OK) 

90 min, Drama directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan with Martin Sheen, Tom Hickey, Stephen Rea, Joseph O’Sullivan, Trystan Gravelle, Marcella Plunkett.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 4.4 out of 10, 60% critic 30% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Dark Truth 2012

     Jack is a former undercover CIA agent and now he’s a political talk show host.  He’s hired by the daughter of a water company founder to find out what is going on with their operations in South America.  There has been a typhus outbreak and she was tipped off that her employees had a role in the massacre of a village as a cover-up.  As soon as he arrives, Jack is caught up in a violent and chaotic situation with the military.  He succeeds in bringing back witnesses who are willing to testify against this powerful corporation.  As soon as the group arrives near the headquarters, this sets off a firestorm of bullets.
     There is something off about this from the beginning, more like a TV movie and not a recent one.  The message is a good one but Garcia cannot constantly pull everyone up by their bootstraps.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

102 in, Action directed by Damian Lee with Deborah Kara Unger, Andy Garcia, Forest Whitaker, Eva Longoria, Kim Coates, Al Sapienza, Devon Bostick. 

Note:  Blockbuster 1 ½*, imdb 5.3 out of 10, 8% critic 41% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Small Apartments 2012

     Franklin Franklin lives in a seedy and run down apartment complex.  He dreams of moving to Switzerland and he blows his alphorn to bring forth these memories.  This does not please the other tenants plus they complain about the smell of his apartment every time he opens the door.  The smell comes from the dead landlord on the floor?  He also goes to the mailboxes every day wearing only a wig and white underwear.  The other tenants don’t have much going for them either, the pothead next door, the nosy one on the other side, oddball mother and daughter across the courtyard.
     This movie is a strange and wild ride from the beginning to the end.  Sometimes can be dark and horrifying but a lot of times funny.  Filmed in only 20 days!  3* (This movie is OK)

96 min, Comedy directed by Jonas Akerlund with Matt Lucas, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Dolph Lundgren, Rebel Wilson, Billy Crystal, Rosie Perez.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.9 out of 10, 14% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hitler's Children 2011

Product Details     Adolph Hitler did not have any children, this documentary looks at the descendents of five of the top Nazi officials working for Hitler.  None of these relatives have any Nazi leanings and they talk individually about carrying a name associated with the Nazi Party.  Even just being a German has been associated with Nazi history but their family names have been written in history.
     This is very interesting, many movies have been made about this period but this film has a different viewpoint.  It’s about the burden passed on to the future generation.  Each of the five people have handled their legacy in a different manner.  There are discussions of evil, guilt, memory, denial, heredity and repentance.  What they drew on to form their own identities and how they have chosen to live their lives with this heritage.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

59 min Doc directed by Chanoch Zeevi with Bettina Goering, Katrin Himmler, Rainer Hoess, Eldad Beck, Niklas Frank, Monika Goeth.

Note:  imdb 7.3 out of 10, 80% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

All Together 2011

Product Details      A group of friends of over 40 years meet for dinner, one of the men, Jean, casually mentions that they are all getting older and maybe they should live together?  Soon after this dinner, Claude has a heart attack going up a stairway and his son places him in a retirement home.  The others go to visit him with bread and champagne.  They plan to meet with him every weekend but they are appalled by the home.  Claude is smuggled out and everyone moves into the home of Jean and Annie.  Claude has never been married and is in pretty good shape except for his heart.  Annie wants to put in a swimming pool so the grandchildren will come to visit but Jean is opposed, their health is good.  Jeanne is suffering from a terminal illness and her husband Albert is losing his memory. 
      This is very good, all the characters are interesting and well acted.  I was surprised to hear Jane Fonda speaking French, I don’t know if she is fluent in this language but she did very well.  A positive solution to getting old!!  4* (I really liked this movie)

96 min, Comedy directed by Stephane Robelin with Guy Bedos, Daniel Bruhl, Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Fonda, Claude Rich, Pierre Richard, Bernard Malaka.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 65% critic 51% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Auto Focus 2002

     Bob Crane’s career really took off when he was signed to play Colonel Hogan in Hogan’s Heroes.  Prior to this television hit, Bob was a morning DJ on radio in the 60’s.  He lives in Southern California with his wife and three children.  Everything begins to change once he becomes a celebrity.  Bob strikes up a friendship with John Carpenter, a Sony sales rep who sets up home entertainment systems for Hollywood customers.  He invites Bob to join him for an evening of cruising strip clubs.  Bob likes to play the drums and he likes playing with the bands in these clubs.  His life begins to slide down a slippery slope.
     I did not know what I was getting into with this film.  Extremely dark, unexpected and disturbing, Crane and Carpenter both seem to be disconnected from reality and they don’t think there is anything wrong with their behavior?  Good in keeping to the period with the cars, décor, clothing, music, language and values.  3* (This movie is OK)

106 min, Bio directed by Paul Schrader with Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello. Ron Leibman, Kurt Fuller, Ed Begley, Jr., Michael McKeen.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.6 out of 10, 72% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Cold Light of Day 2012

     Will Shaw is a Wall Street trader who is really worried his business has gone down the tubes.  It doesn’t help that he’s left to meet his family for a vacation in Spain and his luggage is still in San Francisco.  He joins them on a large sailboat and his father gets so irritated with him not paying attention on the boat and using his phone all the time that he throws the phone into the water.  Will swims ashore but when he gets back the boat is not there.  He locates the boat in a cove but everyone is gone.  This leads to disclosure of dark family secrets and a government conspiracy.
     There are so many problems with this film it’s hard to begin to list them but “cold” is a good start!  Cavill is a newbie at international intrigue but he plays his character with a wild-eyed innocence throughout even though he is gaining experience.  People get severely beaten and they look just about normal after the beating?  Weaver doesn’t mind killing everyone in her path and the chase scene in cars is good but too little too late for this film. 2* (I didn't like this movie) 
93 min, Action directed by Mabrouk El Mechri with Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Henry Cavill, Veronica Echegui, Joseph Mawie, Caroline Goodall, Rafi Gavron.
Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 4.8 out of 10, 5% critic 29% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Numb 2007

     Hudson is a Hollywood screenwriter with some success but suddenly after smoking a joint, he sinks into a strange vibe where he can’t physically or emotionally feel his surroundings.  His writing partner, Tom, is disturbed by the sudden changes in Hudson and he advises him to see a psychiatrist.  He is diagnosed with depersonalization, this starts him on the path of one medication after another until he’s on a first name basis with his pharmacist.  He meets Sarah at a sales pitch, she is a beautiful, she actually likes him, believes in him and tries to help him as much as she can. 
     Sometimes you want to hit Hudson and shake him as well.  Could some of his problems be due to thinking a lot about only himself and also a call for attention?  Not very deep with one nutty doctor after another with stereotypical results. 3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Comedy directed by Harris Goldberg with Matthew Perry, Bob Gunton, Monique Ganderton, Ben Ayres, Helen Shaver, Mary Steenburgen, Lynn Collins.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.6 out of 10, 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

California Solo 2012

     In the 1990’s, Lachlan MacAldonich was on top of the world.  He was in a pop band from Britain and he had a lot of hit songs on the radio.  Now he maintains a low profile working on an organic farm in Los Angeles.  He also works on a podcast, Flame-Outs, about the untimely deaths of his favorite musicians including his brother.   Lachlan is pulled over for drunken driving and a previous drug offense in his past are used against him for deportation.
     Robert Carlyle was in The Full Monty and Trainsposting, he does a good job as Lachlan but this lead character is not very likeable once the charm of his nice accent wears off.  How can I care about whether or not he’s deported if I’m not sure he belongs here?  Not enough substance, I keep wondering why I am watching?  2 1/2* (This movie is just so-so)

95 min, Drama directed by Marshall Lewy with Robert Carlyle, Danny Masterson, Sean McCraken, Kathleen Wilhoite, William Russ, A Martinez, Michael Des Barres.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.0 out of 10, 67% critic 61% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.