Sunday, November 30, 2014

Locke 2013


     Ivan Locke works construction as a foreman and he’s involved with a major project.  He leaves the construction site for a two-hour drive from Birmingham to London.  He drives and he makes calls.  He calls his wife, sons, co-workers and his boss.  He has a secret to tell them and he wants to tell it but still remain in his marriage and his job. 
     OK, this is a different premise, showing one character in a movie and all he is doing is riding in a car.  I felt like a hostage riding in the trunk of this car instead of a viewer.  Tom Hardy was well cast and he gives a good performance but there seems to be too many limitations.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

85 min, Drama directed by Steven Knight with Tom Hardy and the voices of Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, Bill Milner, Danny Webb, Alice Lowe, Silas Carson, Lee Ross, Kirsty Dillon.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 89% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3* out of 5* with 263 reviews.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Filth 2013


     Bruce Robertson is a corrupt policeman hoping for a promotion.  He doesn’t stop at corruption, he also very bigoted.  He is assigned to work on solving a murder case but instead of concentrating on his case, he works on trying to ruin his colleagues’ chances of getting his promotion.  He steals their wives, exposes their secrets and wraps himself up in a web of deceit and drug use that gets out of control.  He begins to question his own sanity and grip on reality.
     I could not get very far into this film.  There is nothing but craziness from the beginning to at least the middle.  Probably the title is a very good warning about what you are getting into and there is nothing funny in this film.  1 ½* (I really didn’t like this movie)

97 min, Comedy directed by Jon S. Baird with James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Brian McCardie, Emun Elliott, Gary Lewis, John Sessions, Shauna Macdonald, Jim Broadbent, Joanne Froggatt.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 62% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 90 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie along with Trainspotting from 1996 are based on novels by Irvin Welsh.  Trainspotting is about deep in the Edinburgh drug scene.  I think Trainspotting is also hard to take but better than this film with Imdb 8.2 out of 10.

Friday, November 28, 2014

They Came Together 2014

They Came Together

     Joel asks Tiffany to marry him but she’s been having an affair with Trevor for a year?  Joel meets Molly at a Halloween Party and they take an instant dislike to each other.  Molly loves having her own candy shop and it’s been her dream for a long time.  Joel works for Corporate Candy Company and they are going to build a shop across the street from Molly.  Her accountant thinks she will quickly go out of business.  Somehow, Joel and Molly do get together but other things start to get in the way.
     Molly and Joel are relating the story of how they met while out for dinner with friends and their story is told in flashbacks.  Everything about their relationship has a tilted edge to it.  This is really a spoof on all romantic comedies such as You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk, When Harry Met Sally.  Also, think of films with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston or Kate Hudson.  Somehow, none of this seems to work for me.  A lot of times this is not at all funny.  1 ½* (I really didn’t like this movie)

83 min, Comedy directed by David Wain with Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Cobie Smulders, Christopher Meloni, Max Greenfield, Ellie Kemper, Jason Matzoukas, Melanie Lynskey, Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 69% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Out of Sight 1998

Out of Sight

     This film is based on a novel by Elmore Leonard.  Jack Foley has spent his adult life as a bank robber and he’s been in prison three times.  His pal Buddy Bragg helps him escape from his last incarceration but there is a snag.   They are forced to kidnap a female US Marshal during the process.  Jack rides in the trunk with Karen Sisco and they are sort of kind of attracted to each other?  She's worried Jack will get so much dirt on her favorite outfit that it will be unwearable.  Jack lets Karen go, Buddy and Jack head for a final big scam in Detroit.
     I liked seeing Lopez and Clooney in their younger days.  Lopez is able do her job as a Marshal but she sees some fun coming along the way too.  Clooney can be very romantic but he’s really a smart loser with bank robbing and this one big job as his only ways to make money.  There doesn’t seem any way to keep him out of prison with this type of life even though he doesn’t want to go back.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

123 min, Comedy directed by Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Jim Robinson, Mike Malone, Don Cheadle, Donna Frenzel, Catherine Keener, Manny Suarez, Dennis Farina, Steve Zahn.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 93% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  This film was shot on location in Florida, Louisiana and Michigan.  There are cameo performances by Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson.  There were four other adapt
ations of  Leonard novels, GetShorty, Touch and Jackie Brown.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Words and Pictures 2013

Words and Pictures

     Jack Marcus teaches advanced English at an upscale prep school.  He never makes lesson plans, he doesn’t grade the papers and he’s usually late for class.  Dina Delsanto has a lot of physical problems because of rheumatoid arthritis and she comes to the school as the new advanced Art instructor.  The two teachers immediately clash in the break room.  Jack always plays a game with the other teaches, naming 5 syllable words for each letter in the alphabet.  Dina doesn’t want to join into this game, she would like a break in the break room.  The two teachers start a battle with themselves and the two classes that leads to a battle in the school about which is more powerful, the word or the picture.
     I don’t consider this to be a comedy and it’s both not good and not bad.  It doesn’t take a bold enough step in either direction so it just remains lukewarm.  You feel sorry for Dina because of her arthritis but not enough information is given about her limitations to draw you into her character.  Jack is scruffy inside and out and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for Dina to give him any of her limited energy.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

111 min, Comedy directed by Fred Schepisi with Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Bruce Davison, Valerie Tian, Navid Negahban, Amy Brenneman.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 42% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hercule Poirot: The Labours of Hercules, Season 13, Episode 4 2014:

Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Final Cases Coll

     The Metropolitan Police work with Hercule Poirot to set a trap for the art thief Marrascaud.  Lucinda Le Mesurier is wearing a very valuable diamond necklace as the cheese for the trap.  And, if this is not enough of an enticement, there is also a priceless painting titled Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra.  Hercule assures Lucinda that nothing will happen and she will be perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, Marrascaud steals the painting, steals the necklace and Lucinda is murdered.  Hercule has gone into a deep depression because he could not live up to his assurances.  Three months later, Hercule takes a ride with one of the chauffeurs that has been sent to drive him several times.  Hercule learns the chauffeur is in love with the maid of a celebrated Russian ballerinea.  The chauffeur asks Hercule to try to find his true love.  He agrees to take on the case without a fee.
     This is good, there is a lot going on.  Hercule is very happy to be involved with a new case to raise his spirits and he learns there is a chance Marrascaud is in the same area as the ballerina and her maid.  Hercule and several other guests become snowbound at the Hotel Olympos in Neiges, Switzerland.  The snow doesn’t stop several mysterious events to occur and many questions to pile up.  Can Hercule conquer his feelings of failure and rejuvenate the little grey cells?  4 1/2* (I loved this film)

89 min, TV Episode, Mystery directed by Andy Wilson with David Suchet, Patrick Ryecart, Rupert Evans, Lorna Nickson Brown, Stephen Frost, Isobel Middleton, Tom Chadbon, Tom Austen, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Nicholas McGaughey, Tom Wlaschiha, Morven Christie.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, TV Guide 4.5* out of 5* with 16 reviews, The Telegraph 4* out of 5*, Amazon 4.3 out of 5* with 77 reviews.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The German Doctor 2013

The German Doctor

     This movie is based on Wakolda, a fifth novel by Lucia Puenzo.  The setting of the film is Patagonia in 1960.  An Argentinean family is traveling to Patagonia to reopen a hotel that belongs to their family.  They encounter a doctor, Helmut Gregor from Germany along the way and he follows them on a long desert road to the small town of Bariloche.  Eva, Enzo and their three children become friends with the doctor and he is their first guest staying at the hotel.  He begins treating Lilith, their 12-year-old daughter with growth hormones because she is constantly teased at school.  Lilith is small, the size of an 8-year-old and the children call her dwarf.  Later, Eva gives birth to twins and the doctor helps them because their lungs are not fully developed.
     Enzo is interested in making dolls and Helmut offers to invest money in having a factory make the dolls.  I thought it was slightly freaky to see the dolls being made, one after the other, just alike with perfect blue eyes and blond braided hair.   There are secrets in this film that hover in the background in combination with the beautiful landscapes of the area.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

93 min, Drama directed by Lucia Puenzo with Alex Brendemuhl, Diego Peretti, Elena Roger, Guillermo Pfening, Florencia Bado, Alan Daicz.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 73% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gabrielle 2013


     Gabrielle is a musically gifted 22-year-old woman with a zest for life and she doesn’t let having Williams syndrome get in her way.   This syndrome is a genetic disorder causing developmental delay and cardiovascular problems.  She met Martin at the recreation center in Montreal where they sing in the choir, Les Muses de Montreal.  Their families are fearful of their relationship because they are both “different?”  The choir is practicing for an musical festival but Gabrielle becomes very upset when Martin stops coming.  She takes the bus to the pet store where he works but he doesn't work there anymore.
     This is good and you can connect with the characters.  Gabrielle longs to have her own apartment but she lives in a small group home.  She doesn’t realize until her sister leaves her on her own for one day that she isn’t equipped to be fully on her own.  She has her disorder to cope with and also diabetes.  She tests her blood sugar but she doesn't check it often enough.  She also doesn't realize she needs to monitor activity and food intake in order to have regular normal numbers.  She gets lost and she doesn’t know how to handle minor emergencies.  Her sister wants to help her but she also wants a life of her own.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
104 min, Drama directed by Louise Archambault with Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, Alexandre Landry, Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Vincent-Guillaume Otis, Benoit Gouin, Sebastien Ricard, Marie Gignac.

Note:  Imdb7.0 out of 10, 95% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Metascore 70/100 with 11 critics, Village Voice 90/100, The New York Times 80/100, Variety 70/100, The Hollywood Reporter 70/100.
Special Note:  Produced by Luc Dery who was also involved with Monsieur Lazhar that featured a Montreal public grade school teacher.  He is an Algerian immigrant hired to teach and help a class recover from the loss of their former teacher.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Photographic Memory 2012

Photographic Memory

     Filmmaker Ross McElwee is having a difficult time with his teen son Adrian.  They were so close when Adrian was growing up but Ross is at a loss to bring back this relationship.  Ross has always taken films of the family and they haven’t seemed to mind.  His son is addicted to and always distracted by his virtual worlds.  He can’t seem to have a conversation with out also texting or sending messages.  Ross decides to retrace his own journey to adulthood.  He returns to St. Quay-Portreux in Brittany to track down his first employer.  He worked with photographer Maurice until he was suddenly accused of losing some negatives and fired.  He also met his girlfriend Maud. 
      I thought this was interesting and his disconnect with his teenage son seems to be the norm for parents and it may be more difficult with boys?  His son wants to tempt the feeling he has that he is immortal with his extreme ski videos.  At least Ross is trying and discovering the realities of his own past plus putting distance from the problem which may give him a fresh perspective or at least some relief from the tensions.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

87 min, Doc directed by Ross McElwee with Adrian and Ross McElwee.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 94% critic 59% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Metascore 79/100 9 reviews, no user reviews, New York Post 88/100, Village Voice 80/100 New York Times 60/100.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Experiment in Terror 1962

Experiment in Terror

      Kelly Sherwood comes home from her job as a bank teller in the evening.  She lives on a dead end street and she’s greeted by a strange man who won’t let her look at him.  He says he will kill her and he’s killed before if she doesn’t do what he says.  He has a plan for her to take $100,000 from the bank and give it to him but he hasn’t told her the details yet.  He also threatens Kelly’s younger sister Toby, they live together and Toby is in high school. 
     This is good, almost like an Alfred Hitchcock film.  I liked the black and white, the black seems like it is even extra black.  I liked the cars, the Ford Fairlane convertible that Kelly Sherwood drives and the other vehicles of the period.  The movie was filmed in San Francisco and there are scenes at a Giants Game in Candlestick Park for the conclusion.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

123 min, Crime directed by Blake Edwards with Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers, Roy Poole, Ned Glass, Anito Loo, Patricia Huston, Gilbert Green, Ross Martin, Clifton James, Al Avalon.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 100% critic 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 79 reviews.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chinese Puzzle 2013

Chinese Puzzle

     Wendy and Xavier are married with a son and daughter.  They live in France, Xavier is French but Wendy is British and she has lived in France for 10 years.  Wendy wants a divorce and she wants to take the children with her to live in New York.  This throws Xavier for a loop and he decides he must move to the United States if he wants to stay connected with the children.  This move turns out to be more difficult than he expected.  He needs to have an apartment in order to have visitation with the children.  He doesn’t have a work visa so he can only get jobs that pay under the table.  He quickly learns that apartments in New York are expensive and difficult to find.  He also can’t seem to find a place near the school the children are attending and for some reason, he doesn't want them to wear uniforms?
     Xavier’s life was simple in France but becomes more and more complicated in New York.  Supposedly, he is a relatively successful novelist in France but in New York, he can’t afford a decent attorney or apartment?  How did he afford to live in France?  Everyone around him seems to be successful with well-paying jobs too?  A lot of what happens in this film seems to be imagined just to be complex.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)    

117 min, Comedy directed by Cedric Klapisch with Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Cecile De France, Kelly Reilly, Sandrine Holt, Flore Bonaventura, Jochen Hagele, Benoit Jacquot, Pablo Mugnier-Jacob.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 75% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.
Special Note:  This is the third film in a trilogy called Auberge Espagnole (Spanish Apartment) by writer and director Cedric Klapisch.  The first film was in Spain L’Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) in 2002 and the second was in St. Peterburg Les Poupees Russe (The Russian Dolls) in 2005.  Xavier’s relationships are first introduced in the two other films.

  • Chinese Puzzle

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Elephants Can Remember 2014

Elephants Can Remember: A Hercule Poirot Mystery     Hercule Poirot is working on an interesting case.  An elderly psychiatrist has been murdered in the bathtub of his treatment center.  Originally the bath was used with cold and hot water hoses for psychiatric treatments along with separate electro-shock therapy.  His son is also a psychiatrist, he was asleep upstairs in his apartment and he didn’t hear anything?  Poirot’s friend and author Ariadne Oliver wants to unravel her own mystery.  Mrs. Burton-Cox is worried her son will marry a woman whose parents were shot by the cliffs on their estate a decade ago. 
     This is very good and it’s difficult to solve both of the mysteries until one very important clue is revealed.  There is another clue waiting in the wings that will help in the resolution even more.  I did have some ideas about both cases and they proved to be correct.  4 ½* (I loved this episode)

89 min, TV Episode, Mystery directed by John Strickland with David Suchet, Adrian Lukis, Annabel Mullion, Zoe Wannamaker, Greta Scacchi, Ian Glen, Vincent Regan, Alexandra Dowling, Vanessa Kirby, Elsa Mollien.

Note:  Imdb 8.2 out of 10, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 67 reviews.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Under the Skin 2013

Under the Skin

     A woman finds another woman’s body and she dons the woman’s skin like she is putting on clothes.  She drives around Glasgow Scotland in a white van.  She is seeking to pick up men and she takes them to an abandoned flat.  They follow her through a dark doorway and she begins to back away from them.  They walk forward but they begin walking into a black pool.  The woman doesn’t seem to go into the pool but stays above the surface of the pool. 
     You will need a different mind-set to view this film.  Almost everything is unexplained and different.  Many scenes are almost in slow motion, we don’t know why there is a black pool, why doesn’t she go into the pool and what happens to the men?  One man goes into the pool and possibly because he is imperfect, he comes out of the pool?  There are many interactions and visual images with many meanings?  She seems to be na├»ve and unfamiliar with everyday life?  3* (This movie is OK)  

108 min, Drama directed by Jonathan Glazer with Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, D. Meade, Andrew Gorman, Joe Szula, Krystof Hadek.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 86% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  A lot of the men have very thick Scottish accents and subtitles are almost needed to understand what they are saying?  The woman doesn't speak like this at all.  The expression on the DVD cover is her almost all the time look.  Only changes if happy or afraid.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Point Blank 1967

Point Blank

     This film is based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake titled The Hunter.  Walker was double-crossed on Alcatraz when the spoils were supposed to be divided up after a robbery.  Instead he was left for dead except he wasn’t dead.  He sets out to enact revenge and obtain the $93,000 that was stolen from him.  One of his problems is that he is one man going against a large-scale operation.
      Walker doesn’t care what the consequences are or what he needs to do for this vendetta.   In one scene he wrecks a car to show how much he means business.  In a short time they want to give him back the money but they can't figure out how to do it safely?  Maybe, Walker really died on Alcatraz?  3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Crime directed by John Boorman with Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O’Connor, Lloyd Bochner, Michael Strong, John Vernon, Sharon Acker, James Sikking, Sandra Warner.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 97% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sabatoge 2014


     Members of a DEA task force rob a drug cartel safe house but when they go to get the money, it’s gone.  The entire team is relieved of their duties until an intense investigation can be conducted about what happened to the money.  After eight months, they get the all clear and go back to work.  Unfortunately, they start being eliminated one by one and everyone still alive becomes a suspect.
     This film is extremely violent and every other word is language.  Everything about his film is ridiculous and idiotic, almost like it’s a comedy but it’s too brutal for comedy.  I am not a hairdresser but I think I could do a better job on Arnold’s haircut and dye job.  This film is not worth even five minutes of your time!!  1 1/2* (I really didn’t like this movie)

109 min, Action directed by David Ayer with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Max Martini, Kevin Vance, Mark Schlegel, Ned Yousef, Mareille Enos.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 19% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Like Father, Like Son 2013

Like Father, Like Son

     The Nonomiya and Saiki families both have sons that are six years old.  What they don’t know but will soon find out is that three baby boys were born the same day in a small rural hospital.  Two of the boys were mixed up and went to the wrong parents.  Keita Nonomiya belongs to the Saiki family but the Nonomiya family has raised him.  Ryusei Saiki belongs to the Nonomiya family but the Saiki family has raised him.  The parents start meeting together and then they have Saturday sleepovers with their birth boys.  The Saiki parents have another son and a daughter but the Nonomiya parents have the one son.
     This is interesting, the boys only know the mother and father that has raised them for the last six years.  The families are very different, in the Nonomiya household the father is an architect in Tokyo, he works a lot and they are wealthy.  In the Saiki household the father works as an appliance repairman and they live in the same building as his shop.  They don’t have very much money and the mother also has a job outside of the home.  They have a decision to make about the boys.  Will they switch boys or will they keep the boys they have raised?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

121 min, Drama directed by Hirokazu Koreeda with Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Riri Furanki, Jun Fubuki, Shogen Hwang.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 87% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 22 reviews.
Special Note:  The title in Japanese actually means, And Then I Will be His Father.

Friday, November 14, 2014

To Be or Not to Be 1942

To Be or Not to Be

     Maria and Joseph Tura are actors in Warsaw Poland just before WWII.  They have been performing anti-Nazi plays but they are forced to change to Shakespeare after the Nazi invasion.  Professor Siletsky claims to be on the side of the Americans but he really plans to take a list of names to Hitler in order to destroy the resistance.  Maria and Joseph along with other members of the company are sent in to neutralize the Professor.
     This is the second time I’ve seen this film.  Despite the desperate circumstances in Poland at this time, there are a lot of funny moments in this film.  It did cause controversy upon release because the war was still being fought.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

99 min, Comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch with Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Breeart, Lionel Atwill, Stanley Ridges, Sig Ruman.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 97% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 99 reviews.
Special Note:  Carol Lombard was the third wife of Clark Gable.  This is the final film with Carole, on January 16, 1942, Carole and her mother along with 20 other people were flying to California when the plane crashed just outside of Las Vegas Nevada.  All passengers died and Carole was 33 years old.  Gable was so devastated by her death that he joined US Air Force and did not act for three years.  This film was remade in 1983 with Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ronny Graham, Zale Kessler.