Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gone Girl

The film Gone Girl is a strong entry to new thrillers. The story of a woman missing and presumed murdered makes the husband a prime suspect. The portrayal of media and law enforcement is interesting, especially when you are not sure who is telling the truth. This film stays very true to the book. If you like the film you should read the book for more details, though the film does a pretty thorough job. I like a thriller where people are not as they seem and the plot turns keep you on your toes. Even though I read the book, I really enjoyed this film for the performances, structure and interpretation. They bring in just the right amount of tension, creepy moments and well placed comic relief. Strong film.

Love Is Strange

When a couple of 39 years marry, their world is turned upside down. In Love Is Strange it is ok for the music director at a catholic school to have a boyfriend, but when he marries him the school fires him. This forces the couple to sell their apartment and temporarily move in with their families. Separately. The portrayal of the difference of lifestyle and relationships are very good. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow make a wonderful couple and deliver very real, touching and poignant performances. A different take on a love story that worked for me. Well done.

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls are the latest misunderstood monsters from Laika Entertainment (Coraline, Paranorman). Living underground, they are not what people think, and a little girl helps save the day. The animation on this film is brilliant. There are gross stunts and lots of action. This one may be too intense for kids under 5. A little girl in front of me asked her Mom if they could go home about 15 minutes into the film. It is worth staying through the credits.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Skeleton Twins

Twins who were very close as children have not spoken in 10 years. In The Skeleton Twins the brother's attempted suicide brings the two back together as adults. They are strangers who know each other very well. As they try to help each other, their personality flaws and touches of mental illness factor in. They struggle to help each other and missteps occur. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have great chemistry as siblings. Hader is especially good in this. I find him very enjoyable to watch. Dialogue comes very easily and he endears the audience to his character quickly. A nice film about relationships, hurt and forgiveness. I really liked this film.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Rover

The Rover is visually stunning, yet the story is grim, depressing and violent. This revenge tale is somber and bloody. I can appreciate this film, but it was tough to get through.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Race issues in 1800 England don't usually enter our consciousness. In Belle we learn of the story of Belle. She is the result of a Navy Admiral's relationship with a servant. He brings her to live with his aristocratic uncle while he is at sea. She is afforded the benefits of her birth, but is limited by her race. Very interesting dynamic. As she becomes an adult, and is eligible to be married, things get confusing and complicated. Emotions and etiquette collide in a dramatic way. Belle stands strong and perseveres. What an interesting story with great performances.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This is Where I Leave You

The family dynamic in This Is Where I Leave You is the same as mine. Three boys, one girl and the girl is second oldest. The adult children come together at the wish of their deceased father to sit shiva for seven days. The consequences of this are funny, poignant and magnify every flaw in their relationships. The cast is stellar and there are many very funny moments. I especially liked where all of the characters ended up. This film hit all the right notes for me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Drop

Set in Brooklyn, The Drop is an adaptation of the short story Animal Rescue. A bar that is used to move laundered money is robbed. There is a history with the bar that is dark and dangerous. In the midst of this, the bartender rescues a puppy from the trash. Though he tries to look for the good in his world the seedy stuff forces its way in and things do not end well. The violence equaks the sentimental moments. James Gandofini and Tom Hardy turn in excellent performances. A dark crime drama I really liked.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Words and Pictures

Which is more important, words or pictures? In the film Words and Pictures this conflict is played out at a prep school. The romance is a bit formulaic, but watching Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen spar with words is delightful. This film addresses human frailty, art and intellect in an uplifting way. Another rental that I really enjoyed.