Friday, February 28, 2014

Golden Door 2006

Golden Door     Salvatore is a very poor farmer during the beginning of the 20th century in Sicily.  He has decided to journey to the United States with all of his family.  While they are being inspected before boarding ship, they meet Lucy.  She is British and would like to return to the States.  She has a problem, she will need to marry someone since unmarried women are not allowed to immigrate.  The custom officers perform many physical and mental tests before they allow entrance.
     It is interesting to see the Sicilian immigrants before and after their arrival in this country.  They have a lot of images in their minds about life here that aren’t true.  It takes a LONG time to make this trip in this movie.   3* (This movie is OK)

118 min, Drama directed by Emanuele Crialese with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Francesco Cassia, Fillippo Pucillo, Federica De Cola, Isabella Ragonese, Filippo Luna.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 72% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.00/4.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Journey to Italy 1954

Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia) (Strangers) (The Lonely Woman)     Catherine and Alexander Joyce drive to Naples to arrange the sale of a home belonging to a recently deceased uncle.  They have decided to travel by car instead of taking a flight and are wondering if this was the wrong decision.  They are not used to being together this much in close quarters and discover they don’t know each other as well as they thought.  He’s sarcastic which causes her to react with criticism.  She thinks of a young man she knew who died and realizes she doesn’t have romance in her life.  He goes alone to Capri and flirts with the women he meets there.
     This film is the last film of three films made by Rossellini with Bergman.  Also, the end of their working relationship and their marriage.  I knew early on how this film would conclude but not how it would finally get to this destination.  In black and white with many scenes of tourist areas in the region.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

97 min, Drama directed by Roberto Rossellini with Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders,
Maria Mauban, Anna Proclemer, Paul Muller, Anthony La Penna, Natalia Ray.
Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 95% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes
Special Note:  I wonder how much of the disintegration of their  marriage was portrayed in this film?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Wolverine 2013

The Wolverine

     Logan has been living alone in the woods following the death of the woman he loved, Jean Grey.  A Japanese girl has been looking for him.  She has been sent on a mission to bring Logan to Japan to say goodbye to a man he knew in WWII.  They talk to each other but the man dies soon after Logan arrives.  At the funeral, the man’s daughter is kidnapped but Logan saves her.  Everything begins changing for him, he begins to feel mortality and he isn’t healing immediately from his wounds.
     This is one battle and fight after another.  If you remove just half of the battles, there is a tiny plot left behind.  If you want action, this is for you but if you are interested in anything serious, forget it!!  3* (This movie is OK)

126 min, Action directed by James Mangold with Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 of 10, 69% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  I cannot help but think it's funny that Jackman as the points on the top sides of his hair!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time to Leave 2005

Time to Leave

     Romain is a fashion photographer living in Paris.  He passed out at one of his photo shoots and after tests learns he has cancer.  He has less than 5% chance of a cure and he refuses radiation and chemotherapy.  Of course, he is struggling with a limited time to live and he’s having difficulty telling his parents and sister.  He finds peace from a visit with his grandmother Laura.  They are kindred spirits and she understands his feelings.
     I could not help but think how I would react and behave after a diagnosis such as this.  I would’ve liked for Romain to be kinder to his family and ask for help in this journey.  The storyline seems like this film would be a downer but it isn't.  3* (This movie is OK)  

81 min, Drama directed by Francois Ozon with Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Daniel Duval, Marie Riviere, Christian Sengewald, Louise-Anne Hippeau.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 76% critic 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.58/4.
Special Note:  This film is part two of a trilogy with Under the Sand as the first installment.  I could not find information about the third movie, perhaps it has not been filmed or was cancelled?

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Hangover III 2013

The Hangover, Part III

     Alan’s father passes away and the group holds an intervention for him because of his behavior and he's off his meds.  They are taking him away to a hospital in Arizona for treatment.  Their car is run off the road and Doug is kidnapped.  Mr. Chow has stolen half of a $42 million shipment of gold bars.  Alan has been corresponding with Chow and they have some clues about how to find him.
     When you can’t write dialogue, all you can do is use f word over and over!!  This could’ve had a chance to be a good movie but you become completely tired of the characters having nothing to say?  Also, the continually forced tension of the circumstances becomes tedious too.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

100 min, Comedy directed by Todd Phillips with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 of 10,19% critic 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1½*.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paranoia 2013


     Adam Cassidy wants to be a power player in the high stakes tech industry.  His father has medical issues and the bills are piling up.  Unintentionally, he becomes involved with Nicolas Wyatt and Jock Goddard.  They are the two most powerful players in this business and bitter rivals with a long history.  Adam gets in too deep which threatens his own life plus the lives of his father and his friends.  He also knows too much to just walk away.
     A lot of this film just doesn’t seem probable?  There really isn’t any paranoia either because the characters haven’t got a clue they are pawns being watched in every way possible.  Duh and more duh would be a better title!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

106 min, Drama directed by Robrt Luketic with Liam Hemsworth Gardy Oldman, Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Lucas Till, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Josh Holloway, Richard Dreyfuss.

Note:  Imcb 5.6 out of 10, 4% critic 36% audience on rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1* out of 5.
Special Note to Ha
rrison Ford:  Please do not ever shave your head for a movie again!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Moonlight Bay 1951

On Moonlight Bay

     The Winfield family lives in a small town in Indiana and they move across town to a new home.  Marjorie is the oldest daughter and she has a very bratty brother named Wesley.  Marjorie hasn’t given any thought about boys until she meets William Sherman and he lives across the street.  Suddenly, she forgets about baseball and starts wearing dresses.  Bill tells Marjorie that he doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage and she agrees.  Marjorie’s father is not as enamored of Bill as she is because of his differing beliefs.
     I wanted to watch this because of nostalgia for the older movies.  There is a lot of singing and sometimes I think that detracts from a film but not this time.  The only problem I have with this film is Doris Day was born in 1922 and she was 29 years old at the release, which is too old for the character she is playing?  Gordon MacRae was born in 1921 and he was 30 years old and playing a young man in college?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

95 min, Comedy directed by Roy Del Ruth with Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Jack Smith, Leon Ames, Rosemary DeCamp, Mary Wickes, Ellen Corby, Billy Gray.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 100% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM 2.5* out of 5.
Special Note:  There is a sequel to this film, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, 1953.  Loosely based on the Penrod stories by Booth Tarkington.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Reaching for the Moon 2013

Reaching for the Moon

     The year is 1951, forty-year old American poet Elizabeth Bishop is stricken with writer’s block.  She receives an invitation to visit Mary, a Vassar College friend living in Brazil.  Elizabeth travels from her home in New York by ship to Brazil.  She is hoping to find inspiration in another country.  She feels very uncomfortable in the beginning and wants to stay at a hotel instead and take the first boat leaving Brazil. Mary is living with the architect Lota de Macedo Soares.  Lota is intrigued by the shyness and reserve of Elizabeth but they are polar opposites in attitude and temperament.  Lota tries to persuade Elizabeth to stay but she refuses.  On a sudden impulse, Elizabeth eats fruit from the breakfast table while Lota and Mary are outside.  She doesn’t realize the fruit is a cashew and she is allergic to nuts.  Elizabeth stays overnight in the local hospital and she has no choice but to stay longer with Lota and Mary.  She will not be able to take another boat for three weeks.  Surprisingly, she remains in Rio for 15 years.
     This film is based on a book by Carmen L. Oliveira, Rare and Commonplace Flowers.  Elizabeth Bishop won a Pulitzer Prize in 1956.  I thought this was enjoyable, the scenery is very beautiful and the acting is good.  I had not heard of Bishop and Soares before watching this film.  4* (I really liked this movie) (I’m surprised about the low reviews?)  

118 min, Bio directed by Bruno Barreto with Gloria Pires, Miranda Otto, Tracy Middendorf, Marcello Airoldi, Lola Kirke, Tania Costa, Marianna Mac Niven.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 of 10, 27% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jobs 2013


     This film focuses on Steve Jobs from his college years to his early 40’s.  Steve had a tremendous drive and will power that focused on making the best products possible at any cost.  Financial, manpower and personal costs did not matter.  He doesn’t seem to have much compassion for his fellow man and he makes ruthless decisions regarding both friends and foe.  The lesson is to not mess with Jobs or his products.  There is a one-sided screaming match on the phone with Bill Gates over product theft.  The board of Apple removed Jobs from the company but he was able to come back on his own terms when stock prices started to tank.
     I don’t know the accuracy of the portrayals and the storyline of the characters in this film?  True or false, one fact is undeniable, Jobs changed the world with his ideas and innovations.  This is interesting with a lot of details I didn’t previously know.  3* (This movie is OK)

128 min, Bio directed by Joshua Michael Stern with Aston Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, Matthew Modine, J.K. Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 27% critic 41% audi
ence on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mother of George 2013

Mother of George

     A Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn is married in an elaborate wedding ceremony including all the customs from their homeland.  Time goes by and Adenike and Ayodele cannot seem to have a baby.  Adenike goes to a clinic but she cannot persuade Ayodele to have some medical tests.  He balks at the idea and the tests are expensive.  Her mother-in-law proposes several solutions to the problem but they are difficult choices.
     The photography is beautiful and the Nigerian style of clothing is very distinctive.  A lot of emotions play out in this film pride, family customs, matriarchal advice, conflicts, modern life juxtaposed against modern city life.  This film is different and the acting is very good.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

107min, Drama directed by Andrew Dosunmu with Danai Gurira, Isaach De Bankole, Anthony Okunbowa, Bukky Ajayi, Yaya Alfia, Klarissa Jackson, Ishmael Omolade.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 of 10, 92% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Erased 2012


     Ben Logan is working for a company making security devices in Belgium.  He has been estranged from his daughter Amy but she comes to live with him.  Ben goes back to the office to pick up a package and he finds everything gone.  Everyone is gone, all the furniture and equipment are gone, his company emails and salary payments have been erased.  He goes to the head office of the company to ask questions but no one knows anything about his employment?
     The plot for this film is very thin and some actions seem implausible.  There are many scenes of running, killing and more of the same.  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so) 
100 min, Action directed by Phillipp Stolzl with Aaron Eckhart, Nick Alachiotis, Liana Liberato, Olga Kurylenko, Garrick Hagon, Eric Godon.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 26% critic 36% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.35/4.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Killing Season 2013

Killing Season

     Benjamin Ford is a former American soldier who lives in a cabin in the woods.  He fought on the front lines in Bosnia and he has PSTD.  Emil Kovac was also a soldier but he fought for the Serbian army and he has PSTD.  They begin fighting their own World War III in the woods over their painful memories.
     I did not like this movie, it begins with scenes of killing during the war and then continues with mutual maiming in the woods.  It’s just too much tedious violence and nothing else!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

91 min, Action directed by Mark Steven Johnson with Robert De Niro, John Travolta, Milo Ventimiglia, Elizabeth Olin, Diana Lyubenova, Kalin Sarmenov, Stefan Shterev.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 of 10, 10% critic 30% audience Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1/2*.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Girl Most Likely 2012

Girl Most Likely

     Imogene won a $30,000 grant to write a play.  She’s doing very well after this award, living in New York with her boyfriend in a nice apartment and she has a good job.  Things start to go south in a short amount of time.  Her boyfriend moves out, she can’t afford the apartment and she is let go from her job.  She believes a suicide attempt would bring back her boyfriend but she goes to the hospital instead.  She’s released into her mother’s care since there isn’t room for her at the hospital for observation.  This is the last thing she wants for her life.  Her mother leaves her in the back of the car while she gambles.  She finds out her room in New Jersey has been rented to a stranger and a man is living with her mother.
     There are some funny scenes in this film but there are too many characters, especially those living in New Jersey.  They are strange people who don’t add anything to the film except weirdness.  We are encouraged to laugh at them and then do an about face and feel compassion for them?  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)    
103 min, Comedy directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini with Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, June Diane Raphael.
Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 20% audience 36% critic on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bringing up Bobby 2011

Bringing Up Bobby

    Olive is from the Ukraine and she is a con artist.  She is trying to raise her ten year-old son in Oklahoma but her lifestyle is not a good environment.  A car hits Bobby in front of their house, he was skateboarding in the street and he gets a broken leg.  Kent was the driver, he is so sorry about the accident, he’s a wealthy man and he becomes their friend.  Later on, two police officers come to the door and the past catches up with Olive.  Kent and his wife step in and take Bobby into their home while she’s away.
    This film makes it tough to like it?!  Milla has an accent and the entire time you wonder if it’s a real accent or did she make it up since she is from Kiev, Ukraine.  It’s too much like a soap opera that’s just OK.  2 ½* (this movie is so-so)

95 min, Drama directed by Famke Janssen with Milla Jovovich, Spencer List, Bill Pullman, Rory Cochrane, Marcia Cross.

Note:  Imdb 4.9 out of 10, 17% critic audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.10/4.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Caught Inside 2010

Caught Inside

     A drama filmed in Australia about a dream vacation of twelve days on a yacht sailing for the Maldive Islands.  The dream turns sour when jealousy and romantic rivalry turn deadly at sea.  The organizer of the trip is a surfer who wants to try out some famous surfing spots and also some other places that are little known.  The men traveled together before but this time a girlfriend and her friend have been added to the mix.
     How could this ever work with five men, a couple of crewmembers and two women?  The unattached woman is temporarily enjoying the attention of two of the men.  This film needed to concentrate on the scenery since everything else is just a distraction.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by Adam Blaiklock with, Ben Oxenbould, Daisy Betts, Sam and Simon Lydon, Leeanna Walsman, Peter Phelps, Harry Cook.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 83% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, SBS Film 2 1/2* out of 5.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bitter/Sweet 2009


     Brian Chandler is a world-renowned coffee expert.  His boss, Calvert James, gives him an assignment to check out a crop of coffee beans in Thailand.  Brian works very hard to make a deal with the growers to pay them more money than they are currently getting for their crop.  Their regular buyer pays a rock bottom price since he doesn’t care anything about the growers.  This is their livelihood and they are just barely able to sustain themselves on their present income.   Everyone is very happy over the deal until James cancels the bargain.
     Calvert James had personal ulterior motives for sending Brian to Thailand.  The coffee deal was just an information-gathering trip as far as he was concerned.  This is enjoyable, I liked the characters and the countryside is very beautiful.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Comedy directed by Jeff Hare with Kip Pardue, Mamee Nakprasit, James Brolin, Spencer Garrett, Kalorin Nemayothin, Laura Sorenson, Tata Young.

Note:  Imdb 5.3 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Gate Reviews 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Road Home 1999

The Road Home

     Businessman Luo Yusheng goes back to his village in Hebei province of North China because of the death of his father.  His mother is insisting that all their traditional burial customs be honored in the burial.  Times have changed and many people will need to carry the body back to the village.  This is done because it is the road home.  His father was the village teacher and Lou’s return to his home brings back his memories of how his parents met.
     This is one of my all time favorite movies.  Lou’s mother fell in love with his father when he came to the village to teach.  He’s sent back by the Communist authorities and she mourns his leaving.  When she hears he will be able to return, she waits by the road in a blizzard all day until she sees him. 5* (I really love this movie)

89 min, Drama directed by Yimou Zhang with Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng, Yulian Zhao, Bin Li, Guifa Chang, Wencheng Sung, Qui Liu.

Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 89% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.82 out of 4.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Syrup 2013

Syrup     This film is based on a bestselling novel by Max Barry.  Scat is fresh out of college with a degree in marketing.  He has the idea to market a drink with a provocative name.  He will do anything to become one of the rich and wildly successful advertising people.  His first hurdle is to convince Six, a skilled and very well paid advertising executive, that this product will sell itself off the shelves.  His second hurdle is betrayal by his best friend Sneaky Pete.  Pete registers the name of the product and gives it to Six.  This maneuver cheats Scat out of the deal of his lifetime.
      I did not get very far into this film.  I didn’t think it was funny, I thought it was tiresome and trying very hard.  It’s another sell your soul for a buck and no matter what theme.  2* (I didn’t like this movie) 
90 min, Comedy directed by Aram Rappaport with Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz, Kirstie Alley, Jolene Andersen, Zachary Booth, Alexander Chaplin.  

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10,  14% critic 37% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.40 out of 4.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blackfish 2013

Blackfish     Tilikum has been involved in the deaths of three people.  One was a top trainer with a record of always thinking of safety.  Another trainer was held by his feet and nearly killed but his knowledge and calmness saved him.  This film uses interviews with former trainers and experts to tell the nature of these animals and their ill treatment by their caretakers in captivity.
     I thought the scenes of Tilikum being captured as a calf would be the worst part of this movie but it wasn’t?  There are so many statements by former Sea World trainers of abuse of the orcas and also of the trainers.  “If you don’t want to do this job, there is someone else waiting in line to take over!”  When are we going to stop exploiting animals to make money, which is the bottom line?  Aren’t these animals called “killer whales?”  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

83 min, Doc directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite with Tilikum, John Hargrove, Samantha Berg, Mark Simmons, Kim Asdown, Dean Gomersall, Carol Ray, John Jett, Jeffrey Ventre, Dave Duffus.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 of 10, 98% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Spectacular Now 2013

The Spectacular Now     Sutter Keely is a high school senior and he’s effortlessly the life of the party.  He lives in the now, if that hurts someone else, it’s a price to pay.  He enjoys his job at a clothing store for men and he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up?  He's on the verse of being an alcoholic and carries his own flask.  He’s dumped by his current girlfriend, gets drunk and wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finekcy.  She does well in school and she has dreams for the future.  Sutter learns his dad lives in the now also and he doesn’t mind hurting people too.  Sutter lets Aimee believe he will meet her at the bus station to leave together but he never shows.
     Sutter is very lucky that he doesn’t kill himself, Aimee or someone else with his drinking and driving!!  Sometimes you want to yell at Aimee and tell her to run as far as she can, this could be a hurt you and throw you away deal!!  Is anyone important to Sutter other than himself?  3* (This movie is OK)  

95 min, Comedy directed by James Ponsoldt with Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson, Masam Holden, Dayo Okeniyi, Jennifer Jason Leight, Nicci Faires.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 of 10, 92% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tess 1979

Tess     Adapted from a novel by Thomas Hardy and set in the British Victorian period.  John Durbeyfield is a poor and simple farmer until a local clergyman tells him he is descended from the d’Urberville family. Tess, the eldest daughter is sent to check on a family with the same name living in a manor house a short distance away.  Tess learns this family purchased the name and coat of arms.  Alec d'Urberville is very attracted to Tess, he gives her strawberries and roses.
     The only kind of luck Tess has is bad luck.  Instead of sharing some of his wealth with the poor relations, Alec treats Tess shabbily.  She has no choice to but take rough manual labor for low pay.  The photography is beautiful but is actually of France.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

186 min, Drama directed by Roman Polanski with Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson, John Collin, John Bett, Tom Chadbon, Rosemary Martin.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 of 10, 82% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.  Special Note:  I wanted to treat several of the males in this film extremely shabbily both mentally and physically!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Experiment 2010

The Experiment      Travis is happy working at a retirement home but their funding is cut and he’s let go from his job.  He starts the search for employment and sees an ad in the newspaper advertising for an experiment and paying $1000 a day for two weeks.  The only requirement is to never have been imprisoned.  The training begins by watching a video with cute scenes and violent scenes mixed together.  Scientists select twenty subjects and the rules are simple.  Ten subjects will be prison guards and ten will be inmates.  The guards are instructed to maintain order without the use of force.
       I was getting very nervous about this film after I watched the trailers.  The quality and type of the trailers usually relates to the film.  The trailers were films that I would not want to watch.  The introduction scenes with the credits are scenes I would never want to watch.  The beginning scenes of the film are unbearable.  That is as far as I got!!  1/2 * (I really hated this movie)

96 min, Drama directed by Paul Scheuring with Adrien Brody, Cam Gigandet, Forest Whitaker, Clifton Collins Jr., Ethan Cohn, Fisher Stevens, Travis Fimmel, Jason Lew.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 49% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Film Crave 2.64/4.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Somewhere Between 2011

Somewhere Between     This is the story of four teenage girls.  They are united by the fact they were all adopted from China.  They live in different parts of the United States but each one could not be kept by their birth mother.  Many mothers were caught up in the One Child Policy.  Girls are not as prized as boys because boys will support the family.  Another fact they have in common is there is not very much information or none at all about their family in China.  80,000 girls have been adopted from China since 1989.
     All of the girls struggle with abandonment and wondering why their biological parents left them.  Some of the girls overcompensate by excelling in social and academic area.  In some of the families, there are other adopted girls.  This is very interesting and all the girls are unique.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

88 min, Doc directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton with Ann Boccuti, Haley Butler, Jenna Cook, Fang (Jenni) Lee.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 88% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Act of God 2009

Act of God     This film looks at the effects on people who have been struck by lightning.  Many claim they are changed spiritually, emotionally and physically by their experience.  The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 700,000 according to the National Weather Service.
     There are scenes of spectacular lightning storms in this film but not much else?  One point completely ignored by the director, are there cultural differences that change reactions to being hit by lightning?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

75 min, Doc directed by Jennifer Baichwal with Paul Auster, Dannion Brinkley, Jean Iveins, James O’Reilly, Fred Frith, Alex Hermant.

Note:  Imdb 4.9 out of 10, 67% critic 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  I think I would have a LOT to say about the experience of many volts of electricity instantly passing through me!!!  And, if you are heading into a lightning storm, aren't you asking to be struck and taking your chances?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

East of Eden 1955

East of Eden     This film is based on a just a portion of a best-selling novel by John Steinbeck.  The period is before and at the beginning of WWI during 1917 and 1918, the place is Salinas California.  Adam has twin boys, their mother left after they were born and he told the boys she died.  They aren’t identical in looks or temperament.  Cal seems confused and cranky.  Aron is serious and he’s in love with Abra.  Cal tries but his father is always putting him down while praising Aron.  It’s a set-up for disaster in a family.
     This is the second time I've seen this film.  The family relationships are comparable to Cain and Abel from the Old Testament of the Bible.  There is also mistrust and undeserved abuse of a German living in the town because of resentment over entering the war.  The photography of the area is beautiful.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

115 min, Drama directed by Elia Kazan with James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives, Richard Davalos, Jo Van Fleet, Lois Smith.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 87% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  There are reports that this film will be remade but in two parts by Gary Ross and Jennifer Lawrence will have a role.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Manon of the Spring 1986

Manon of the Spring     This film is based on L’Eau des Collines (Water of the Hills) by Marcel Pangnol.  Manon takes care of her flock of sheep in the beautiful Provencal countryside.  Her father died and her mother has returned to her career as an opera singer.  Ugolin sees her and immediately falls in love with her.  Cesar, his grandfather advises him that he needs to get married to carry on his family name but he’s not very good about wooing women.  Manon overhears a conversation between two local men hunting on the property.  Ugolin and Cesar cheated her father out of his land and were involved in his death.  They knew of an underground spring but hid the information to get the property cheaply.  Her father was struggling to grow his crops and desperate for water.
     Jean de Florette was released prior to this film and is based on the same novel.  Manon of the Spring continues the story.  You can pick up what happened in the first film from this film.  This is interesting and there are some funny scenes concerning the people in the village.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

113 min, Drama directed by Claude Berri with Yves Montand, Emmanuelle Beart, Daniel Auteuil, Hippolyte Girardot, Margarita Lozano, Yvonne Gamy.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 77% critic 93% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Blue Angel 1930

Blue Angel     Professor Immanuel Rath is a professor at a local university.  His manner is strict and humorless.  He’s an elderly bachelor and he is appalled when he learns some of his students are going to a speakeasy.  They are interested in a dancer, Lola Lola.  He visits the Blue Angel to corner the young men and drag them out.  Unfortunately, he becomes attracted to Lola and his life begins a downward spiral.
     This is in black and white, in German with subtitles.  I found this a slog, very overlong and almost like a silent movie.  I could not finish it, very dark and the black and white photography makes it drearier.  Dietrich was 29 at the release of this film and she immediately became an international star.  2* (I didn't like this movie)

124 min, Drama directed by Josef von Sternberg with Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti, Hans Albers, Reinhold Bernt.

Note:  Imdb 7.9, 94% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Gatekeepers 2012

The Gatekeepers     This documentary has archival footage and interviews with all the surviving former leaders of Shin Bet.  This is an Israeli security agency with all their activities and membership held as state secrets.
     I found this film very difficult to watch, you need to pay attention because of the subtitles but it is not easy.  Like dry toast with only the taste of crispness but otherwise no flavor.  Even the footage is just one confrontation and rock-throwing episode after another.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

101 min, Doc directed by Dror Moreh with Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon.

Note:  Imdb 7.6, 93% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  Blockbuster has eliminated their movie search feature.