Friday, January 31, 2014

Chances Are 1989

Chances Are     Louie and Corinne Jeffries are very happily married.  They are celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary and Corinne’s gift to Louie is she is going to have a baby.  Corrine is waiting for Louie at a restaurant to celebrate their day.  Louie has purchased a pair of diamond earrings for Corinne.  As he is walking across the street, a car hits him and he dies.  Corinne has a daughter and she mourns Louie’s death for 23 years.
     The twist in this film is that Louie is reborn as Alex.  He is working at the library and meets Corinne’s daughter, Melanie.  Alex starts to remember he’s Louie when he goes to their home.  The characters are interesting and you can connect with them.  Slightly far fetched on the re-born theory and then remembering another life.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)  

108 min, Romance directed by Emile Ardolino with Cybil Shepherd, Robert Downey, Jr., Ryan O’Neal, Mary Stuart Masterson, Christopher McDonald.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 65% audience 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fast & Furious 6 2013

Fast & Furious 6     Dom and Brian have just earned $100 million for taking down a criminal kingpin and they decide the team will take a break for a while.  As fugitives from the law, they are still looking over their shoulders and have scattered to different locations.  Agent Hobbs asks them to come to London to take on a team of mercenary drivers working across 12 countries.  The mastermind leading the drivers has a partner in Letty, Dom’s girlfriend and the team thought Letty was dead.  Agent Hobbs offers them a full pardon if they will reassemble and work this dangerous mission.
     The dialogue is nothing to write home about or remember.  There are so many action scenes going on at the same time it’s difficult to keep them in focus.  Just because this is a successful franchise, does the action and violence need to me ramped up more and more for each film?  The death of Paul Walker was a tragedy for everyone involved in these productions.  3* (This movie is OK)

130 min, Action, directed by Justin Lin with Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Ludacris, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 69% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Iceman 2012

The Iceman     Based on the true story of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski.  Richie is married to Deborah and they have two daughters.  Richie loves them and wants the best for them but he kills people for a living and they don’t have a clue.  He had an unusual talent for covering his tracks and he was working for 30 years starting in the 1960’s.  He worked as the chief executioner for the Gambino crime family and he was called the Iceman.  He used freezers for the victims to cover up the time frame of the murder.  He also varied his methods to make it difficult for investigators to make a profile of his kills. 
     Michael Shannon is the perfect actor to play this role.  Later in Richie’s career, he goes into intense sessions of psychopathic rage endangering his beloved family.  The pressures of maintaining a role in the business and earning money really get to him.  There is a narrow focus and the theme is extremely dark in this film.  3* (This movie is OK)

105 min, Crime directed by Ariel Vromen with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Stephen Dorf, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 67% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Prince Avalanche 2013

Prince Avalanche     This film is a remake of a 2011 Icelandic film, Either Way.  It is a character study of Alvin and Lance.  They are polar opposites working for the city.  Their job is to repaint traffic lines on a fire damaged country road during the summer of 1988.
     The burned area is near Bastrop, Texas and the regrowth is beautiful but that is the only positive thing I can say about this film!!  It’s too, long, too boring, not funny and nothing is happening for almost the entire film.  The fire devastated this area and these two leave their junk and residue behind as well.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

94 min, Comedy directed by David Gordon Green, Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance Le Gault, Joyce Payne.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 83% critic 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I Give It a Year 2013

I Give it a Year     Relatives at the wedding of Natasha and Josh don’t want to tell the couple but they are only giving their marriage a year to last.  Nat is an industrious and ambitious worker; Josh is a thinking but struggling slacker author.  Nat begins working with Guy and Josh reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Chole.  After about nine months, Nat and Josh begin seeing a marriage counselor.  She recommends they try to make it for a year.
     This film does have some comedy but it doesn’t seem romantic and the two don’t seem to mesh together just like the couple.  Everyone watching this film deserves better than this weak offering!!  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

97 min, Comedy directed by Dan Mazer with Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Jason Flemying.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.8 out of 10, 55% critic 41% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stuck in Love 2012

Stuck in Love     Bill Borgens is a celebrated author but his wife left him three years ago.  He hasn’t written a word since this shock to his life.  He encourages his daughter Sam and his son Rusty to journal and continue writing.  Sam is about to publish her first novel but she hasn’t spoken to her mother in nearly a year.  Bill is upset that Sam’s novel is not the one he had proofread for her.  Rusty makes the mistake of falling in love with a fellow teen with an addition to drugs and alcohol.
     Does anything I’ve written above sound at all funny?  This is very predictable with a thin plot and OK acting.  Not much else left to say is there?  2 ½* 
(This movie is so-so)

96 min, Comedy directed by Josh Boone with Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Nat Wolf, Lily Collins, Kristen Bell, Logan Lerman, Liana Liberato.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 59% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Wall 2012

The Wall     This film is based on a novel by Marlen Haushofer.  A woman’s peaceful trip into the Austrian mountains becomes completely changed when she finds herself trapped by an invisible wall.  She came to visit a remote hunting lodge with two old friends.  They decide to drive back into town for the evening but they don’t return.  Her only companions are a dog, a cat and a cow.  The only way for her to survive is to adapt to the conditions and provide for herself.  Loneliness is as much of a danger as the elements and she must adapt mentally as well as physically.
     There are a lot of questions raised and not answered by this film.  What is the wall, how did it get there, what happened to her friends, what happened to all the other people?  The mountains and high pastures are very beautiful, the winters are very harsh and the loneliness severe.  3* (This movie is OK)

108 min, Drama directed by Julian Roman Polsler with Wolfgang M. Bauer, Ulrike Beimpold, Martina Gedeck, Julia Gschnitzer, Karlheinz Hackl, Hans-Michael Rehberg.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.8 out of 10, 74% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

After Earth 2013

After Earth     An asteroid storm causes a team of space travelers to crash on a desolate planet Earth 1000 years in the future.  The only survivors are Gen. Cypher Raige and his 13 year-old son, Kitai.  Their distress beacon is destroyed and Raige is badly injured.  The only hope of rescue is for Kitai to find the tail portion of the spaceship and locate the back-up rescue beam.  The beam can summon another ship to take them back to Nova Prime where humans have fled from the polluted Earth.  It will be a difficult journey since every creature on Earth has grown more hostile toward human life and the atmosphere has less oxygen content.
     The story line is thin but that’s not what we are here for in an action movie!  I wonder if everyone is gotten so used to bashing work done by Shaymalan that they believe everything he’s connected with must be awful?  I didn’t find that the case in this film, it’s interesting and a different take on the broken Earth theme.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

100 min, Action directed by M. Night Shaymalan with Will and Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz, Sophie Okonedo, Glenn Morshower, Kristofer Hivju, Sacha Dhawan.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.0 out of 10, 11% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Running Wild 2013

Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde     Dayton O. Hyde is a cowboy, conservationist, award-winning writer and he is 88 years old.  He was always drawn to horses, when he witnessed the ill treatment of wild mustangs, he had to do something about it.  He established a sanctuary to help them and to preserve their bloodline.  The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota has 12,000 acres and more than 500 mustangs.  All the wild horses were rescued from the wild horse roundups.  He also raises cattle to supplement the income needed to run the ranch.
     This cowboy has had a long and interesting life.  He cares about people too and many people are changed after they visit the sanctuary.  He also offers a place for Native American Indians to do their sun dance.  There are many scenes of beautiful animals and the unspoiled land.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
93 min, Doc directed by Suzanne Mitchell with Susan Watt, Dayton O. Hyde, Tom Cook Andrew Hyde,
Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10. 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

White House Down 2013

White House Down     John Cale is a policeman for Washington DC and he is a veteran of Afghanistan.  He is turned down after an interview for a position with the Secret Service.  He was hoping to get this job to bring him closer to his daughter since she is a big fan of the President.  Unable to tell her the truth, he accepts an offer of a tour of the White House as a side step.  A heavily armed paramilitary group picks this exact time to stage an attack to take the President hostage.  There is a powerful explosion targeting the Capital Dome.  Mass chaos ensues inside the building and John is separated from his daughter, Emily.  John goes on full military defense to save his daughter and rescue the President.
     A very high body count and you can’t feel any sorrow for the attackers, some are too dumb to think about and some are too deranged to consider.  Emily is the one to watch, if she gets killed, she knows she did her best in a stressful time.  3* (This movie is OK)

131 min, Action directed by Roland Emmerich with Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King James Woods.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 50% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Note III 2012

The Note III: Notes from the Heart Healer     Several characters from the original Note movie are in this film.  This series is based on a novel by Angela Hunt.  Peyton Danville is a writer and she goes to meet with her friend Dot.  Peyton is going to sign her latest book at the store Dot has taken over from her mother.  Dot is also an attorney but she’s finding it rewarding to run the store.  Violet hears Peyton being interviewed on the radio and she visits the store to meet Peyton.  Violet needs help and she’s hoping Peyton will be able to give her aide.  Violet has a young baby boy, she’s just lost her job and her place to live.  She’s run out of money and she doesn’t know what to do.
      A made for TV movie with the gaps for the commercials.  Focuses on the struggles of a young mom without any family willing to help her.  I found it interesting that Peyton’s husband is named King?  3* (This movie is OK) 

87 min, Drama directed by Douglas Barr with Genie Francis, Ted McGinley, Laci J. Mailey, Brenda Crichlow, Rob Morton, Marilyn Norry.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 5.4 out of 10.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Heat 2013

The Heat     Sarah Ashburn is an egotistical and ambitious FBI agent.  She's a good agent but the other agents don't like her.  She loves to show her team and also the drug dog that they’ve overlooked both narcotics and firearms during a bust.  The dog was distracted by the wax coating on the drug package and a plate of meat placed on the table above the package.  Sarah is promised consideration for a promotion if she can bring down a new drug lord setting up shop in Boston.  Everything does not start off very well when she is teamed with loud-mouthed and rough Shannon Mullins.  They don’t just dislike each other, they hate each other as soon as they meet.  Sarah does things by the book and Shannon does things her own way.
     This film had a lot of potential and could have been much better.  It’s the swearing, it’s every other word and it gets tiresome very quickly.  There are some funny moments but there needs to be more.  If the funny could replace the swearing, it would be much different.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

117 min, Comedy directed by Paul Feig with Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Jane Curtin, Spoken Reasons, Dan Baddedahl, Taran Killam.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 66% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Short Term 12 2013

Short Term 12     This film expands on a 2008 short film of the same name.  Grace is the supervisor of a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.  She works with a team of counselors trying to help kids pulled from bad home situations.  Grace knows first-hand what it is like to live with an abusive parent.  She still has a difficult time talking about and processing what happened to her in the past.  The teens at this center are suffering from depression, substance abuse, self harm and other outer expressions of great inner suffering.
     This is a good film with a good message that doesn’t take a preaching stance.  It’s day-to-day life that can explode into something else at any moment.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

96 min, Drama directed by Destin Cretton with Brie Larson, Frantz Turner, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, Alex Calloway, Kevin Hernandez, Lydia Du Veaux, Keith Stanfield.

Note:  Imdb 8.2 out of 10, 99% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fill The Void 2012

Fill the Void      Esther and Yochay are ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews living in Tel Aviv and expecting their first baby.  This is a very happy time for them until Esther has complications in childbirth and she dies.  Esther's family steps in to help Yochay care for the baby boy.  Rabbi Aharon, Yochay's father-in-law, counsels him to remarry as soon as he feels able for his benefit and also for his young son.  An eligible woman is found in Belgium but it requires them to leave Tel Aviv.  Esther’s mother, Rivka, feels her heart will break at the loss of both Yochay and the baby after the loss of her daughter.  Rivka comes up with a plan for her 18-year-old daughter Shira to marry Yochay.  Everyone connected with the family feels this is a drastic step and they are against the marriage.
     Shira is very naïve and she lives a closed and cloistered life.  She is meeting approved gentlemen her age but suddenly hit with a very different choice.  A very narrow focus in this film and also slow moving.  3* (This movie is OK) 

90 min, Drama directed by Ifal and Rama Burshtein with Renana Raz, Yiftach Klein, Hadas Yaron, Chayim Sharir, Irit Sheleg, Razia Israeli.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.8 out of 10, 87% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eames: The Architect & the Painter 2011

Eames: The Architect and the Painter     America’s most influential industrial designers were Charles and Ray Eames.  This film uses a large amount of archival material and interviews.  Friends, colleagues and experts tell the business and personal story of the couple.  They made plywood and fiberglass furniture, splints for wounded military personnel in WWII, interior designs, multi-media exhibits, graphics, photography, games, films and toys.  The Eames were very creative and willing to take risks.  They were also passionate about the tasks at hand using hard work and focus to get the job done.  They understood the needs of the users and those viewing their efforts.  Function and form made the Eames chair very popular.  Charles was the craftsman and Ray was artistically gifted.
     Everyone took a back seat to Charles and they were not credited for their work on projects.  Even Ray was never listed for her contributions.  Charles could not vision designs in color and Ray took over in that area.  Her perfectionist tendencies and her copious note writing sometimes held Ray back.  There is a lot of information in this film and I found it better to take a break during viewing and come back later to finish.  3* (This movie is OK)

85 min, Doc directed by Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey with Charles and Ray Eames, James Franco, Jeannine Oppewal, Paul Schrader, Kevin Roche.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 88% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Bling Ring 2013

The Bling Ring     This film is based on a true story.  A group of L.A. teens fixated on celebrities burglarize their homes.  The group selects a person to rob, they find out where they live and when they will be away.  They sort through their property for the latest luxury brands.  They begin to take more and more risks to feed their appetite for trends.
      There is one robbery, shopping trip, and nightclub party after another.  They all begin to blend together after a short time.  Don’t they think about posting pictures of their loot on Facebook pages, fingerprints in the homes and cars?  Of course, they are sorry after they are caught!!  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)    

90 min, Bio directed by Sofia Coppola with Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, Georgia Rock, Carlos Miranda, Gavin Rossdale.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 60% critic 35% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The East 2012

The East     Former FBI agent Jane works for Hiller Brood, an elite private intelligence firm doing work for A-list corporate clientele.  Highly trained operative infiltrators are sent into anarchist faction groups. The groups are staging clandestine attacks on major corporations.  Usually the attacks are for environmental pollution or against the manufacturers of drugs with questionable benefits verses extreme health risks.  The group called The East turns drugs with harmful side effects against the CEO’s of the manufacturing company.  Jane, posing as Sarah Moss, is able to establish herself with the group but over time she finds herself siding with the beliefs of the group.  She continues to work quietly and protects her cover but she has an intense crisis of conscience.  She also begins to have feelings for the charismatic leader of the group.
     I found this film enjoyable and entertaining plus suspenseful.  When Sarah cuts her arm in order to get further into the group, I wanted to SCREAM!!  OK, I'm not cutting my arm like that to advance my objective!!  There are many times you wonder if she will be outed.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

116 min, Mys/Sus directed by Zal Batmanglij with Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Patricia Clarkson, Shiloh Fernandez, Aldis Hodge, Danielle Macdonald. Hilary Baack, Jason Ritter.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 74% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Attack 2012

The Attack     Dr. Amin Jaafari is a Palestinian surgeon living with his wife in Tel Aviv.  A terrorist bombing takes place in a café.  Dr. Jaafari races to help those brought to the hospital and injured in the blast.  Later that night, police summon him to identify the body of the bomber.  He is shocked to discover it is his wife Sihem.  He had no idea she was involved with any terrorist groups and was planning to initiate an attack.  He’s questioned and held for more questioning but it becomes evident he doesn’t know anything.
     A very slow moving film with a lot of scenes riding in cars and I didn’t know if I would be able to continue watching.   The doctor is going through the stages of grief but also wondering how much he knew about his wife.  Many questions and not very many answers.  3* (This movie is OK)  

95 min, Drama directed by Ziad Doueiri with Ali Suliman, Reymond Amsellem, Uri Gavriel, Yevgenya Dodina, Karim Saleh, Dvir Benedek.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 90% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Abel's Field 2012

Abel's Field     Seth is trying to hold his family together and keep them in their house.  His mother died and his father has abandoned the family.  He’s working two jobs, going to high school and trying to take care of his seven-year-old twin sisters.  Seth gets into a fight at school and his punishment is to work with the groundskeeper until a job with the grass on the football field is finished.  Abel and Seth initially hate each other but over time they become friends. 
     A good story, Seth is really trying but he seems to keep having more and more hard luck.  He wants to ask for help but he just can’t bring himself to say the words.  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Drama directed by Gordie Haakstad with Samuel Davis, Kevin Sorbo, Richard Dillard, Nicole Elliott, Elizabeth and Catie Duff, Devon Bonnee, Joe Ward, Trent Moore, William Buchanan, Susan Mansur.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 96% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Elysium 2013

Elysium     The year is 2154, the privileged live on Elysium, an Earth-orbiting space station paradise.  Everyone else lives on Earth and it is mess.  It’s very dusty and the buildings are torn up.  The elite have cutting-edge medical technology and the others contend with overpopulation, poverty, crime and disease.  Only those with explicit approval can immigrate to Elysium.  The black-market sells tickets but it is not unusual for the spacecraft to be destroyed and if the people make it to the space station, all aliens are deported back to Earth.  Max lives in an LA shantytown and he’s always wanted to go to Elysium but has lived on Earth.  He’s 36 years old and works on a robot assembly line.  He’s exposed to deadly radiation and his only hope is to get to Elysium within five days or he will die.
     There are so many ways this movie is ridiculous and a lot of scenes don’t stand up to logical scrutiny.  There are many instances of both intense violence and stupidity.  Max has an apparatus attached and embedded in his body during a brutal installation process.  This unit is to enable the transfer of a memory from another man and enhance his physical powers.  There are several villains out for only their own purposes.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

109 min, Action directed by Neill Blomkamp with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharito Copley, Diego Luna, Alice Braga, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 68% critic 61% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Monsters University 2013

Monsters University     Before they became employees of Monsters, Inc, Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan were two promising young students at Monsters University.  Both are majoring in scaring and the competition is fierce for who can be the scariest.  They get out of hand and find themselves booted from the program.  Their only chance is to make a team of their oddball friends to get back on track.
      I think the first Monsters was slightly better than this one.  It’s seems to be too narrowly focused and needs to stretch the same note to fill time.  There are the Scare Games, Hunger Games without weapons but they head into bland territory.  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Animated directed by Dan Scanlon with the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.5 out of 10, 78% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stories We Tell 2012

Stories We Tell     Sarah Polley interviews every member of her family about her mother’s life.  She had discovered a few years earlier that her biological father was not the person she knew as her father.  She discovered from her filming that truth depends on who’s telling the story.  Truth and memory are elusive.
     My one question throughout this film is that I wondered if Sarah’s story is any more important, compelling and interesting than any other person’s story?  If a person is involved in the film industry, does that make their story more worthy of telling?  I also wondered if I could keep watching this since the main character has passed away and she cannot contribute her side of the story?  3* (This movie is OK)

108 min, Doc directed by Sarah Polley with Michael, Mark, Joanna and Sarah Polley, Susy and John Buchan, Harry and Cathy Gulkin, Marie Murphy, Robert MacMillian, Anne Tait, Deirdre Bowen, Victoria Mitchell.

Note:  Blockbuster 4 ½*, imdb 7.7 out of 10, 95% critic 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Therese 2012

Thérèse      This film is an adaptation of a classic novel by Francois Mauriac.  Therese Larrouque is a housewife in the 1920’s of the Landes region in provincial France.  She is locked in a loveless arranged marriage to wealthy and landowning Bernard Desqueyroux.  During this time marriages were used to merge land holdings and to build powerful families.  Therese realizes what she has lost in this marriage when she meets the dashing Portuguese suitor of Anne, Bernard’s sister.
     Too much of Therese’s inner turmoil is conveyed with a frown, deferring her gaze or a worried stare.  I was left wondering why about almost everything she does?  Bernard and his family treat her horribly but public displays must be of an impeccable relationship.  3* (This movie is OK)

110 min, Drama directed by Claude Miller with Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche, Anais Demoustier, Catherine Arditi, Isabelle Sadoyan, Francis Perrin, Jean-Claude Calon, Max Morel, Francoise Goubert, Stanley Weber.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 52% critic 37% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Bank Job 2012

      This film is based on an actual London bank robbery in 1971.  The case baffled the authorities and fascinated the public.  Terry is a car dealer and small time criminal.  Martine is from his old neighborhood and she tells Terry about a foolproof plan to rob a Baker Street Bank.  They are going to steal from the safety deposit boxes instead of the vault.  They are counting on a lot of cast, jewelry and items customers will not report as missing.  One thing the crew did not know is the boxes contained secrets implicating politicians and underworld gangsters. 
The Bank Job     I didn’t realize I’d seen this movie before until the beginning scenes.  Many interesting and different characters are involved in this story.  It seems remarkable that everything is true.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, Crime directed by Roger Donaldson with Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, Aiki David, Keeley Hawes, David Suchet, Michael Jibson.

Note:  Blockbuster 4 ½*, imdb 7.3 out of 10, 79% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frances Ha

Frances Ha     This film follows Frances, she lives in New York but she doesn’t have an apartment of her own.  She apprentices for a dance company but is not really a dancer.  She throws herself into her dreams for the future and often takes steps that keep her from realizing her dreams.  She flies to Paris for two days on a new credit card even though she can’t afford to go.  She goes back to her college to make some money and practice her dancing but she’s not allowed to practice.  She has a best friend Sophie but they aren’t really speaking anymore.  Will anything she wants come true?
     This is a different kind of film and shot in black and white.  Sometimes it makes you wonder if you are really in the world of Girls with Lena Dunham?  I wondered if I could continue to watch this and would it be worth it if I did?  Gerwig makes you think this is her life, she’s the director and this is her film but that is not the case.  The story is of the director Noah Baumbach.  3* (This movie is OK)

86 min, Comedy/Drama directed by Noah Baumbach with Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Esper, Michael Zegen, Charlotte d’Amboise, Grace Gummer.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 92% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Barbara     The setting of this film is East Germany of the 1980’s.  Barbara is a Berlin doctor banished to a remote rural hospital because she applied for an exit visa.  She is frustrated and only finds happiness in her secret meetings with her West German boyfriend, Jorg.  He is formulating an escape plan for Barbara to leave for West Germany.  The authorities are wary of her leaving and they come to her apartment to search for money multiple times.  Andre is another doctor at the clinic sent there from a large hospital because of a mistake with new equipment for premature babies.  Stella comes to the clinic with meningitis and she is pregnant.  Barbara and Andre work closely together to treat this patient and also a young man who tried to commit suicide. 
     Barbara and Andre go through a lot of difficulties because of the political situation in East Germany at this time.  Just across the border is freedom and professional advancement.  On the East side there is constant surveillance, informants everywhere and you cannot be yourself in public.  For quite a while you don’t know what Barbara is going to do about leaving and don’t expect anything in East Germany to be humorous.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Drama directed by Christian Petzold with Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock, Christian Hecke, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Mark Waschke.

Note:  Blockbuster 5%, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 93% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Planes 2013

Disney's Planes     This film is a spinoff of Cars.  Dusty is a humble crop duster dreaming of being a great air racer.  He has two problems connected with this dream, he’s afraid of heights and he has a small engine.  Skipper, a military veteran aviator helps him train for a race against the reigning circuit champ. 
     A lot of the story is related to Cars, the hopeful little guy against his betters.  Convincing his team that he can do this with a little help.  There has to be the good guys and the bad guys plus the side switchers.  I have it on good authority that the facts are accurate.  Entertaining if you set aside your skepticism!!  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

91 min, Animated directed by Klay Hall with the voices of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, Val Kilmer, Dane Cook, Anthony Edwards, Brad Garrett, Stacy Keach, Carlos Alazraqui, Cedric, Priyanka Chopra.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.6 out of 10, 26% critic 51% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Host 2013

The Host     This film is based on a novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyers.  Most of the human race has been taken over by something from outer space.  There are only small groups of regular humans left and the soul humans are searching them out to change them.  The invaders capture Melanie and she nearly kills herself trying to escape.  The invaders restore her to life and full health by taking over her body.  Melanie’s inner spirit is very strong and it is not letting the new spirit fully take over.  She returns to the hidden group of humans she was taken from and they don’t want to trust her because she has been changed.
     You can tell the humans from the souls by the difference in their eyes.  The souls have a bright pale blue circle.  This film is overlong and I wanted to stop watching many times.  The scenery is nice since most of the filming was in New Mexico.  Ronan does a good job but the other acting is bad and there are lots of very serious conversations that all sound like farewells.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

126 min SciFi/Fantasy directed by Andrew Niccol with Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Chandler Canterbury, Max Irons, William Hurt, Frances Fisher.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.8 out of 10, 8% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.