Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Forgiveness of Blood 2011

The Forgiveness of Blood     Rudina is the oldest daughter in an Albanian family.  She attends high school and is an excellent student.  Her brother Nik is the oldest son and he’s very popular in the same school.  Their father earns his living by delivering bread in their community.  He has been using a short cut through a neighbor’s land for a long time but the neighbor decides to close off this road.  There is a conflict and the neighbor is killed, their father is involved along with their uncle.  The police catch the uncle but their father escapes into hiding.
     Seems a lot longer than 109 minutes and I could not finish this film.  I expected a lot more from the director of Maria Full of Grace.  There is a lot of talking and not much going on except Rudina doing the bread delivery.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

109 min, Drama directed by Joshua Marston with Tristan Halilaj, Refet Abazi, Zana Hasaj, Erjon Mani, Luan Jaha, Cun Lajci, Veton Osmani.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 86% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Act of Vengeance 2010

Also titled Five Minarets in New York:
Act Of Vengeance     After an unsuccessful and bloody raid in Istanbul, two Turkish anti-terrorist agents are sent to New York City on a mission to bring back a notorious terrorist.  He is known only as Dejjal which is Arabic for Anti-Christ.  The FBI and NYPD have arrested a suspect who may or not be the notorious Dejjal.  When the prisoner escapes, events escalate and the foreign agents must take things in their own hands to avert disaster.   
     This film has a lot of action with raids, machine guns, rockets, cars blown up, overturned, torture and a lot of violence.  The message driven home throughout the film is that not all Muslims are terrorists but is this believable?  Has a made for TV feel.  3* (This movie is OK)

97 min, Drama directed by Mashun Krirmizigul with Gina Gershon, Danny Glover, Robert Patrick, Haluk Bilginer, Mustafa Sandal, Scott William Winters.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.0 out of 10, 36% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Silent Souls 2010

Silent Souls     This film takes place in West-Central Russia.  Aist and Miron are members of an ancient Finno-Ugric tribe from Lake Nero.  The Merja people assimilated into Russian in the 17-century but they continue their myths and traditions in their modern life.  Miron’s wife Tanya passes away and he asks Aist to help him say goodbye according to their traditions.
     This film is very slow paced with wonderful photography and filled with the traditions of this tribe.  Water is very meaningful and to return to the water is immortality.  3* (This movie is OK)

78 min, Drama directed by Aleksey Fedorchenko with Yuliya Aug, Olga Dobrina, Larisa Domaskina, Viktor Gerrat, Olga Gireva, Artem Habibulin.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 98% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The White Diamond 2004

The White Diamond

     Dr. Graham Dorrington is an airship engineer.  He hopes to fly his helium-filled invention above the treetops near the giant Kaieteur Falls in the heart of Guyana.  A similar expedition was undertaken twelve years ago but Dorrington’s friend Dieter Plage fell to his death.  On this trip, Werner Herzog travels with the group to film the adventure in the rain forest of this little explored part of the world.
     Dr. Dorrington has always been an adventurer and he lost part of several of his fingers on his left hand while holding a rocket as a teen.  Werner Herzog puts words in mouths of people and doesn’t finish filming them when they have said what they wanted to say.  He must need a certain length to be satisfied with a film and will continue even if he shows the same thing again.  There is a sequence with a gorilla that you will not forget!!  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Doc directed by Werner Herzog with Graham Dorrington, Dieter Plage, Adrian de Schryver, Annette Scheurich, Marc Anthony Yhap, Michael Wilk, Anthony Melville.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 94% critic 82% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Foyle's War: The Cage 2013

Product Details     Foyle has a new boss, Sir Alec Meyerson.  Sir Alec asks Foyle to investigate the death of three Russian defectors.  They were all in a supposedly safe house.  Then, another Russian is dying and collapses in a hospital.  His last words were “Ten Eye.”  The doctor who tried to save him is later murdered after asking Foyle to pay him a visit.  Adam Wainwright is running for election and while campaigning, he discovers the daughter of one of his constituents is missing.
     I thought this was much better than the first episode (The Eternity Ring) of the new series.  The detail and plot twists are easier to follow and it’s more interesting.   Foyle discovers who betrayed the Russians and killed the doctor.  3 ½*  (I liked this movie)

120 min, Crime directed by Stuart Orme with Laura Way, Simon Coury, Norma Shehan, Radoslaw Kaim, Rufus Wright, Rupert Vansittart.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 100% critic on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Foyle's War: Sunflower 2013

Foyle's War: Season 7     In this episode Foyle is assigned the task of protecting a notorious Nazi war criminal, Karl Strasser.  He is masquerading as a Dutch citizen, has become a valuable asset for MI5 and provided them with information concerning Russian spies.  Foyle finds this task exceedingly unsavory.  The Soviets and Americans have been tipped off that Strasser is under British protection.  He's worried someone is after him and he’s being followed.  An American colonel would like to take him into custody because he killed surrendered allied soldiers during the war.  A British soldier, Timmy Nelson is still trying to recover from injuries as the only survivor of this episode.  His physical wounds have healed but he is still battling PTSD.
     Karl Strasser is such a revolting individual that you are hoping he will have some kind of accident.  There are twists and turns which require close attention and consideration of the details.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

120 min, Crime directed by Anthony Horowitz with Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell, Jay Simpson, Julian Ovenden, Ellie Haddington.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 100% critic on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not Fade Away 2012

Not Fade Away    Douglas is a senior in a New Jersey High school of the 60’s.  He becomes music obsessed after listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as they are first coming upon the music scene.  He begins playing the drums in local bands with his buddies.  Over time, he decides to abandon going into the military and going to college.  He constantly fights with his gruff dad over his appearance, attitude and choices.  He finally catches a break for an audition with his band.
     David Chase is the creator of the Sopranos.  I liked the music and the soundtrack.  Gandolfini really captures the complaining dad role.  Douglas hopes to make a career out of the latest band.  Sure, it’s rock and roll and New Jersey but also wishing and hoping.  3* (This movie is OK)   

112 min, Drama directed by David Chase with John Magaro, James Gandolfini, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Dominique McElligott, Brahm Vaccarella, Gregory Perri, Bella Heathcote, Molly Price.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.9 out of 10, 70% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Flat 2011

The Flat
     Filmmaker Amon Goldfinger’s 98-year-old grandmother has passed away.  She has lived in the same Tel Aviv flat for 70 years.  She immigrated to Israel from Germany with his grandfather when the Nazi regime came into power.  Amon and his mother plus other relatives are left with the task of cleaning out the apartment.  They find many discoveries about their family in letters and photographs.  They are surprised at correspondence with an SS Officer.  Amon also finds it interesting that his mother never questioned his grandparents about the family.
     I think viewers may be divided into love this or why was this movie made?  Genealogists will love every aspect of this film and it will inspire them to dig deeper into their own heritage.  Those not interested in gemology or without the talents to investigate may the ones to wonder why?  I did think historians could be interested in the correspondence and files?  3* (This movie is OK)

98 min, Doc directed by Amon Goldfinger with Michael Adler, Yaron Amit, Dr. Avham Barkai, Metal Beli, Rani Eisenbery, Gidi, Hannah, Noam, Yair Goldfinger, Orit Goldfinger-Mendel.

Note Blockbuster 3 ½* imdb 6.7 out of 10, 84% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Potential Inside 2010

The Potential Inside (2010)     Chris Carmik announces his retirement from professional cycling but he will remain in the sport as a coach.  Sara, his wife, is very disappointed to hear he will be coaching because she wants him to spend more time with their young daughter.  She feels he is missing a lot of her growing up since he seems to be always gone at her events.  Right after the press conference, there is an auto accident with a truck hitting the passenger side of their car.  Chris is injured, in the hospital for a while and he has a broken arm and wrist.  Unfortunately, his daughter in the back seat was killed.  Chris takes this so hard he doesn’t know if he will be able to recover.
     Sara doesn’t seem to have much sympathy with the intense grief Chris is feeling.  She is grieving herself but she leaves and goes to stay with her mother.  Chris does reconcile with Sara but there is no insight into their process.  The beginning is the accident and the rest of the film is mountain biking.  Somewhat like Premium Rush, if you are not interested in the biking, what else is left?  This does have a very positive message of learning out to cope with a tragic loss.  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min, Drama directed by Scotty Curlee with Michael Cuddire, Scotty Curlee, Jeremiah Bishop Ransford Doherty, Kera O’Bryon, Declan McGovern.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.8 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Dynamiter 2011

The Dynamiter     Robbie Hendrick is 14 years old, he lives in Glen Allan, Mississippi with his elderly grandmother and his younger half brother.  He’s always one step ahead or behind the local Sheriff.  He’s continually in trouble at school too.  The Principal makes him a deal, if he writes an essay over the summer, he will not send his revealing record to high school.  Robbie spends his days wondering when his mother will come home from California and taking care of his brother, Fess.  His older brother Lucas comes to live with them for a while but he’s trouble. 
     This film shows the reality of broken families and poverty.  Regular people in hard times trying to get by and grow up without role models.  Slow paced but interesting locations and good performances.  3* (This movie is OK) 

73 min, Drama directed by Matthew Gordon with William Ruffin, Patrick Rutherford, John Alex Nunnery, Byron Hughes, Ryan H. Jackson, Joyce Baldwin, Ciara McMillian, Casey Brown.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 81% critic on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Under the Greenwood Tree 2005

Under the Greenwood Tree

     Based on a novel by Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy.  Fancy Day is very beautiful and she comes from a wealthy family background.  She journeys to a small village in the south of England to work as the local schoolteacher and take care of her ailing father.  Three of the local men are quite taken with her and it’s not very long before she receives a proposal of marriage from wealthy Farmer Shiner.  The townspeople are speculating that Reverend Maybold will also ask for her hand.  Dick Dewey is an honest working man but not her father’s first choice for marriage to Fancy.  Three suitors and two marriage proposals, how will she decide?
     I didn’t see what the greenwood tree has to do with this story except it is continually shown.  I didn’t like the background music, it’s got the same loud tone over and over.  Features nothing original and very lightweight.  3* (This movie is OK)

93 min, Romance directed by Nicholas Laughland with Keeley Hawes, Steve Pemberton, Ben Miles, James Murray, Tony Haygarth, Tom Georgeson, Terry Mortimer.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Captain Phillips 2013

Captain Phillips     Based on the book and true story of Richard Phillips, U.S. Captain of a cargo ship. This was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years.  In 2009, the MV Maersk Alabama was en route to Mombasa, Kenya when two Somali pirate skiffs begin pursuit.  The ship follows established protocols to repel the pirates.  They increased to full speed and were able to go fast enough and create enough wake to make the pirates retreat.  One boat returns later, they use the same tactics but the pirates come much closer and they use the side water cannons.  They also tried quickly shifting their course for evasion.  When four pirates come aboard the ship, the Captain instructs the crew to go below and hide in the engine room.  Two crewmembers are on the bridge with the Captain.  He keeps his walkie-talkie on so the crew can hear what is going on with the pirates and he can give them instructions on other things he wants them to do. 
     You know there will be trouble as soon as you see the ship will be sailing through Somali waters.  The tension starts as soon as Captain Phillips starts locking entrances and initiating drills with the crew.  This movie seems so realistic from the beginning to the end because Keener and Hanks are the only Hollywood faces.  Everyone seems like they are the real deal.  It’s amazing what Captain Phillips went through during this ordeal.  5*  (I absolutely loved this movie)

134 min, Drama directed by Paul Greengrass with Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, David Warshosky.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 8.0 out of 10, 94% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  This film reminded me of The Hurt Locker, Oscar nominated Barry Ackroyd was the cinematographer on both films.  The Somali men are chewing khat, a plant that creates a sense of aggression and euphoria.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To the Lighthouse 1983

To the Lighthouse

     Based on a 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf with three parts, The Window, Time Passes and The Lighthouse, a BBC production.  The Window is one day in the life of the Ramsay family, father and mother, their eight children and four guests.  They are on vacation on the Cornwall peninsula in remote southwester England.   They spend time at the summerhouse, go on beach strolls, play cricket and there are wrestling matches.  James is the youngest and his father thinks he’s a brat but he’s a dear to his mother.  Times Passes consists of transitional scenes of the next 10 years.  In the final part, The Lighthouse, James gets his wish when they row out to the nearby lighthouse.
     I didn’t know this was in three parts until I read about this film.  It’s very slow paced but interesting to see family life in 1910 through 1920.  It’s slightly difficult to keep track of all the children in the family.  A young Branagh is a student visiting Professor Ramsay.  There were times when I didn’t know if I could finish this film but you just need to adjust to the premise and the pace.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
115 min, Drama directed by Colin Gregg with Lynsey Baxter, Lily Briscoe, David Daker, Simon Dutton, Nicholas Gecks, Michael Gough, Rosemary Harris, Paula Jacobs, T.P. McKenna, Kenneth Branagh.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Absolute Decepton 2013

Absolute Deception     An FBI agent travels to New York to visit an American magazine reporter to tell her that her husband is dead.  She already thought he was dead but in a car accident?  Now he is supposed to have been killed in Australia on the Gold Coast.  She goes to Australia to try to find out what is going on.  She can’t believe he was not really dead and she finds he was leading a double life.  She’s only in the country a short time when someone tries to kill her?
     Sanctuary Cove is the setting for this film and it’s very beautiful.  That is the only thing this film has going for it!!  It’s like a Lifetime TV movie and not a very good one.  Vaugler and Gooding are OK but the rest of the cast is bad.   2* (I didn’t like this movie)

92 min, Mystery directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith with Emmanuelle Vaugler, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Evert McQueen, Ty Hungerford, Jeff Gannon, Brad McMurry, Kelly Atkinson.
Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 3.9 out of 10, 17% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Between Us 2012

Between Us     This film is adapted from an off-Broadway play.  Two years prior, Grace and Carlo were invited to the home of Sharyl and Joel.  At this time Grace and Carlo were newlyweds.  Sharyl and Joel have been married longer and they have a baby son.  They were having marriage problems and contemplating a divorce.  Because of the terrible visit they had, Grace and Carlo decided not to see Sharyl and Joel again.  Now, Sharyl and Joel stop by unexpectedly to see Grace and Carlo.  Sharyl and Joel have repaired their marriage and are very happy.  Grace and Carlo are having a lot of money problems, they have a child now and Grace is expecting another child.  Things go well in the beginning but fall more apart than the first time.
     This is very hard to watch and I’m surprised I was able to slog through to the end!!  Arguing back and forth at almost every moment!!  At first, arguing between Sharyl and Joel, then between the four of them at the second visit.  I hope that this was better as a play, it's terrible as a movie?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

90 min, Drama directed by Dan Mirvish with Julia Stiles, Taye Diggs, Melissa George, David Harbour, Julia Cho, Claudo Dabed, Annika Pampel, Mara New.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.1 out of 10, 33% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Now You See Me 2013

Now You See Me     Four magicians working their own separate gigs are sent a mysterious summons to meet at a certain address.  One year later, they have a combined act at Las Vegas.  Now they are called the Four Horseman.  They so a stunt of robbing a Paris bank but the bank is really robbed and Euros rain down on the audience.  Dylan Rhodes of the FBI and Alma Vargas of Interpol are trying to figure out how the bank was robbed?  They are also working with profession illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley.  Their next show is sold out and they take money from the bank account of wealthy Arthur Tressler.  Their next stunt is to steal a large vault.
    This film has lot of glitter, flash, special effects, tricks and a good cast.  You will need to set reality aside to see if you can figure out the twists and turns plus who are the good guys and the bad.  I could figure a few of the mysteries.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

115 min, Mystery directed by Louis Leterrier with Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Melanie Laurent, Common.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 50% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Brass Teapot 2012

The Brass Teapot     This film is based on a comic book series with the same name.  Alice and John are a married couple struggling to pay their bills.  Alice is trying to get a job but she doesn’t have the qualifications for a most of the jobs advertised.  John’s job is calling people and trying to convince them to keep their television service contracts.  John is fired which is almost the last straw.  Then they get into a car accident with someone running into their very tired car.  Right after the accident, Alice sees a small shop beside the road.  She sees an antique teapot inside and she must have it.  She runs out of the shop with it and soon after she finds out the teapot will give you money when you feel pain.
     So many times I wanted to stop watching and do anything else!!  You want to find out what happens in the end but getting there is a hard slog.  The plot is very thin and nearly unbelievable at every turn.  A lot of cutesy thrown in too.  3* (This movie is OK)  

101 min, Comedy directed by Ramaa Mosely with Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alia Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan, Alexis Bledel, Billy Magnussen.

Note:  Blockbuster 2*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 26% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Something in the Air 2012

Something in the Air

     Also titled Apres Mai.  Gilles is a French high school student in suburban Paris of 1971.  Three years earlier in 1968, there were youth riots against reactionary government, a complacent society and promoting pro-Communist revolutionary ideas.  Gilles and his friends still believe in these ideas and they set up new riots.  An act of vandalism against their school goes wrong and draws attention from the police.  They agree to split up for the summer break.
     This film is semi-autobiographical and traces the lives of a group of young activists, they grow and change as the film progresses but it all seems without a plot.  They are evolving but not forcefully enough to maintain your interest.  At least society has moved slightly ahead in handling riots, instead of beating everyone in their path, they use pepper spray.   2* (I didn’t like this movie)

122 min, Drama directed by Olivier Assayas with Clement Metayer, Lola Creton, Felix Armand, Carole Combres, Indai Menuez, Hugo Conzelmann, Mathias Renou.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 82% critic 49% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alex Cross 2012

Alex Cross     This film is based on a character developed by best selling author James Patterson.  Cross is a detective, forensic psychologist and he works for the Detroit Police Department.  His partner is Tommy Kane and they also have a rookie, Monica Ashe, on their team.  Cross is very dedicated to his work and the safety of his team but he’s also just as committed to his family life.  He’s very excited to learn that his wife Maria is expecting their third child.  The team is called to investigate the murder of a wealthy and well-connected woman.  Her three bodyguards have also been killed.  How did someone get a gun into the home since there would be a search by the guards?  The case leads them to French financier, Leon Mercier, he is believed to be the killer’s main target.  The clues point to a psychotic killer who likes to inflict pain upon his victims.
     Too much like a TV drama, very crude and follows the set pattern of cop-chases-crazy killer.  It’s hard to dredge up any emotions about the characters because they seem like paper cutouts instead of real people.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

101 min, Crime directed by Rob Cohen with Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, Cicely Tyson, Rachel Nichols, Giancarlo Esposito.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 4.9 out of 10, 12% critic 49% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Call 2013

The Call     Jordan Turner works as an operator at a 911 call center in Los Angeles.  Jordan needs to remain focused, in the moment and alert on her long nights of high intensity work.  She takes a call from a terrified young girl reporting a man breaking into her home.  She’s doing very well with this call until she loses contact.  She calls the girl back and the ringing of the phone alerts the prowler that the girl is still in the house.  This mistake causes Jordan to suffer tremendous guilt, total self-doubt and she becomes a teacher of new operators instead of working the calls.  She is taking trainees on a tour of the calling center when an inexperienced operator receives a call from another young girl being held hostage in a car trunk.
     This film is very good, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and you keep wondering how the second case is going to turn out?  You also keep yelling at the screen and telling Jordan what she should and should not do.  Offers a different perspective for the ending.  3 ½* (I liked this movie.

94 min, Mystery & Suspense directed by Brad Anderson with Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga, Michael Imperioli, Justina Machado.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 /12*, imdb 6.6 out of 10, 44% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bert Stern: Original Mad Man 2011

Bert Stern: Original Madman

     This movie is written and filmed by Bert’s third wife, Shannah Laumeister.  Bert started his career as a mailroom boy for Look Magazine and he got the job because he didn’t want to go to school.  He became close friends with Stanley Kubrick at Look.  Bert got a chance to start photographing to advertise for Smirnoff Vodka.  He became successful in his photography career at the age of 25.  Madison Avenue, Hollywood and the international fashion scene began hiring him for jobs.  He loved beautiful women and was able to photograph Jean Shrimpton, Suzie Parker, Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot, Twiggy, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.  Bert married Teddy Air but he didn’t want to be married and they divorced.  Bert was also married to ballet dancer Allegra Kent and they had three children but were also divorced. 
     Bert Stern had a special talent, he said he photographed the space between him and the subject.  He understood triangles and used this as the basis for setting up his photographs.  He also directed and filmed Jazz on a Summer’s Day.  He became very wealthy but began using amphetamines and lost everything.  This is very good and interesting.  He died June 26, 2013 at the age of 83.  He seemed bored, lacking his original spark and drive during this filming.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

93 min, Doc directed by Shannah Laumeister with Bert Stern, Albert D’annibale, Dorothy Tristan David Montgomery, George Lois, Carol Halebian, Jerry Delia Femina, Larry Chilnick, George Wein, Judith Crist, Lisa Lavender, Anita O’Day.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 47% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 2011

The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

     This film is set three years after the previous film Dragon Inn.  Jade, the innkeeper has disappeared, the inn has burned to the ground and a new inn has been built on the ashes.  Marauders pretending to be citizens staff this inn during the day but at night they are fortune hunters.  They hope to unearth a fabled lost city buried in the desert containing a treasure.
     There is really not much of a story or plot, just one fight scene after another.  Maybe you need to be a fan of the wuxia genre?  Wuxia means martial hero and is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists.  3* (This movie is OK)

122 min, Action directed by Tsui with Jet Li, Zhou Zun, Kun Chen, Gwei Lunmei, Li Yuchun, Mavis Fan, Siu-Wong Fan, Chia-Hui Liu, Jiankui Sun, Chien Sheng.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.9 out of 10, 70% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The World Before Her 2012

The World Before Her

     Ruhi Singh is from a small town in India, she leaves her home for Bombay and she wants to win the title of Miss India.  She will take part in an intense month long beauty camp.  The winner will be launched on a lucrative career path and gain freedom from the restraints of society.  A few hours away from the competition, there is another camp training girls to fight against Western culture, Islam and Christianity.  This camp is run my militant fundamentalist movement.  If they must use violence, they will be trained how to do this and to protect themselves.  The worlds of the beauty pageant and the training camp seem very far apart from each other.  
    Traditionally since India is a patriarchal society, women have limited choices in India.  Arranged marriages are very common and the man dictates whether or not the woman will work outside the home and what type of job.  Many female infants are given up for adoption or killed since males are preferred.  A second daughter can lead to the end of a marriage.  Some of the women from both sides of their cultural divide could have had their lives ended just after their birth.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Doc directed by Nisha Pahuja with Pooja Chopra, Marc Robinson, Ankita Shorey, Ruhi Singh, Prachi Trivedi.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 100% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Girl Model 2011

Girl Model     Ashley Arbaugh is a former American model and her current job is scouting for young girls in Siberia.  She is paid for her expenses and she gets a commission for each girl selected for a Japanese modeling contract.  Her selection is Nadya, a 13-year-old with natural beauty and a desire to elevate her family from poverty.  Nadya has a very difficult time in Japan with her lack of knowledge of the language or English and she is homesick.  She connects with Madlen, another model and they bond over their common experiences.  There is a contract clause that says the girls can be sent home and could owe money to the agency.
     The practices used in this business are atrocious!  Girls only 13 are sent to another country on their own, told to say they are 15-years-old, their pictures are used and they aren’t paid.  When they go home, they owe money and wish they had not gone at all.  This is really child labor trafficking.  Ashley should go with them to help with the start of their careers and the contracts need to be changed.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

77 min, Doc directed by David Redmon, Ashley Sabin with Ashley Arbaugh, Nadya Vall, Madlen, Rachel Blais, Tigran Khachatrian.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 93% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

World War Z 2013

World War Z     Gerry Lane is a former United Nations investigator.  It was very dangerous work but he's retired and now his specialty is making breakfast pancakes for his wife and two daughters.  They become stuck in a typical Philadelphia traffic jam but his wife notices a lot of helicopters overhead.  There is a sudden explosion and chaos begins.  They learn of a highly contagious virus that transforms infected people into zombies.  Gerry agrees to go back to work with the UN in order to investigate the cause of the plague and a possible cure.  He is doing this because his family will be safe aboard a UN fleet in the Atlantic Ocean as long as he is on this assignment.
     Most of this film has been done multiple times before.  There is action every minute that keeps you from examining plot and visual holes.  A lot of scenes are at night so you can’t see the details.  Brad Pitt is the only man in the world who can save us!!!  Some scenes are unbelievably funny because of the epic scope!!!  3 * (This movie is OK)

116 min, Horror directed by Marc Forster with Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertez, James Badge Dale, Judi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, David Morse.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.1 out of 10, 67% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Great Gatsby 2013

The Great Gatsby     This film is an adaption of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The setting is spring of 1922 in New York.  Nick Carraway is a writer from the Midwest and he’s just moved to the city.  He settles into an inexpensive and rustic home next door to the  estate owned by wealthy Jay Gatsby.  The constant elaborate parties held at the huge estate fascinate Nick.  Living across the bay in another estate is Nick’s cousin Daisy.  She is married to wealthy aristocrat Tom Buchanan and they have a young daughter.  Tom is a failure as a husband with his constant affairs and womanizing.  Daisy was in love with Jay before she married Tom and Nick becomes drawn into the lives of Jay, Daisy and Tom. 
     A popular novel and story get a very flashy and colorful treatment.  I did see this in 3D but it must fly off the screen?  It’s definitely filled with the Luhrmann style!!  I don’t think this detracts but adds to the film and is reined in during the later scenes.  The acting is good and the characters well cast.  It seems that critics either like or hate this film, you’ll have to see which side you are on your after viewing?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

142 min, Drama directed by Baz Luhrmann with Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.4 out of 10, 49% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shadow Dancer 2012

Shadow Dancer     Colette McVeigh and her family were grief stricken in the 1973 when she asked her younger brother to go out for cigarettes for their dad and he was killed.  He was an innocent victim of the conflict in Belfast involving the IRA.  The family joined the insurgency after their loss.  Twenty years later, Colette has a son of her own.  In 1993, she is brought in to see an agent of MI5 after a failed bombing attempt in the London tube.  She is forced to become a double agent or go to prison for 25 years and have her son taken into child protective services.  Suspicions are immediately aroused when her brother’s secret operation is ambushed.
     As soon as this film was over, all I could say was, what happened?  A lot of plot twists and turns, believable in the beginning but then hurried without sufficient explanation at the end.  3* (This movie is OK)

102 min, Drama directed by James Marsh with Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Brid Brennan, Gillian Anderson, David Wilmot, Domhnall Gleeson, Aidan Gillen.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 81% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Teddy Bear 2012

Teddy Bear

     Dennis lives in a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark.  He is a 38-year-old bodybuilder who lives with his controlling mother, Ingrid.  His uncle marries a woman from Thailand and Dennis decides there may be a chance to find true love for himself.  He talks to his uncle to get information and makes a trip to Pattaya.  He tells his mother  he is going to a competition in Germany.  His mother is so mad over him being away that she won’t answer his calls.  Unfortunately, the place where his uncle was introduced to his wife is a very sleazy bar.  Nothing seems to be working out until he meets people at a gym where he goes to workout.
     This is a very different film.  Both Dennis and his mother are codependent on each other.  Even though Dennis is a very large and muscled man at 308 pounds, his mental age and experience level is much younger than 38.  It will take a lot of courage for him to strike out on his own path.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

92 min, Drama directed by Mads Matthiesen with Kim Dold, David Winters, John Winters, Barbara Atler, Chanicha Shindejanichakul, Elsebeth Steentoft, Lamaiporn Hougaard, Mia Maria Back.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 93% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hearts of War 2007

The Poet (Hearts of War)

     This film is also titled The Poet.  Rachel is a young Jewish woman and the daughter of a Rabbi.  She becomes unconscious in a heavy snowstorm on her way home.  Oscar Koenig is an undercover German officer stationed in Poland and living in a small cabin in the woods.  He finds Rachel in the snow and takes her to the cabin.  As he nurses her back to health, they discover their mutual interest in poetry and they fall in love.  German soldiers invade Poland, they burn Rachel’s village causing the death of her family.  Rachel is engaged to Bernard and Oscar helps them escape into the woods.  Rachel discovers she is pregnant and Bernard agrees to marry her and care for the child.  Rachel has Oscar's baby in the woods and they begin living at a German camp at the border in order to survive.  Oscar visits the camp and sees Rachel.
     This is the second time I’ve seen this film.  The first time, I really liked it but when I saw it again I thought it seems too much like a Lifetime or Hallmark movie.  A lot of tearjerker scenes and circumstances that seem improbable.  3* (This movie is OK)

96 min, Drama directed by Damian Lee with Daryl Hannah, Roy Scheider, Kim Coates, Colm Feore, Nina Dobrev, Zachary Bennet.

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

Emperor 2012

Emperor     The entire world is still in shock after the onslaught of WWII.  U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and his aide General Bonner Fellers pay a visit to Japan. They are there to decide if Japanese emperor Hirohito should be tried and executed for war crimes.  General Fellers unexpectedly reunites with his lover Aya.  She is a former Japanese exchange student.  She taught him about Japan’s culture and customs.  She is suddenly missing and he embarks on a mission to find her.  His journey opens his eyes to the destruction of Japan.
     This film did not get very good reviews but I thought it was enjoyable. The addition of the romance between Fellers and Aya lightens the otherwise very heavy war and destruction theme.  Jones makes me wonder if MacArthur was really like this, a lot of swagger, huge corncob pipe and baggy pants?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

106 min, Drama directed by Peter Webber with Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, Eriko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida, Masayoshi Haneda, Kaori Momoi, Colin Moy, Masato Ibu.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.3 out of 10, 30% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dead Reckoning 1947

Dead Reckoning     Soldiers Rip Murdock and Johnny Drake are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  They are on their way to Washington by train but Johnny gets off the train and Rip learns he’s dead.  Rip meets up with Johnny’s married former girlfriend to try to get information.  Rip becomes involved with a crooked gambler and a complex blackmailing scheme.  The next complication is that Rip is charged with murder.
      I had a difficult time with this film because of the dialogue and all the twists and turns in the plot.  I couldn't remain interested and the lines that Bogart uses seem ridiculous.  “I haven’t had a good laugh since before Johnny was murdered.  Do you think I fell for that fancy tripe you gave me?  It’s not a new story baby.  You killed him, why lie?"  All the nicknames for the girlfriend get on my last nerve.  I also couldn't stop mixing up Scott with Bacall, they look alike?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

105 min, Drama directed by John Cromwell with Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, William Prince, Morris Carnovsky.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.1 out of 10, 67% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.