Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tribeca Bound

So I'm watching Access Holywood last night, and Robert DeNiro said "come to the Tribeca Film Festival", I felt invited!!! Off I go today, a week in New York City with tickets to 6 films at the film festival, and plans with friends and family!!! This is going to be a great vacation. If I can find internet access I'll post while I'm gone .... if not , tune in next week. Tribeca here I come!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Mad Hot Ballroom

I had the privilege of attending a film screening that melds two of my interests, film and ballroom dancing. The documentary Mad Hot Ballroom chronicles a ballroom dance program in NY public schools. The dancers are 10-12 years old, and the program culminates in a city-wide competition (Ann Reinking was one of the judges). The film delves into the heart and motivation of this program, which is to better the self esteem, poise and social skills of these young people through ballroom dancing. Watching these young people learn to merengue, swing, rumba, fox trot and tango is amazing. They progress from awkward (ewww touching), to graceful and confident. Stories of the dancer's progress in behavior and academics is interwoven nicely. The insight to the psyche of adolescence was also fascinating. The kids explain what it's like to be 10, 11 years old and share their dreams, thoughts on family and the opposite sex. One of the boys goes as far as saying that dance is "like a sport that nobody knows is a sport".

I also had the pleasure of attending an event with the filmmakers and several of the cast members, and found them charming and fun in person. The kids are wonderful dancers, and one of the teachers, Rodney Lopez, even gave me a twirl on the dance floor!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bobby Long

A Love Song for Bobby Long is the story of 3 people forced to be a family for a year. When a girl's mother dies, she returns home to claim the house and her history. It's an interesting story, with a gritty performance from John Travolta. He plays an alcoholic intellectual, trying to help a former student finish his book. And of course he has a dance scene with the lovely Ms. Johansson!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Fockers and Daggers

Meet the Fockers is out in DVD today. A fun watch, those crazy Fockers made me laugh. Streisand really seemed to have fun with this character.
House of Flying Daggers is beautifully filmed. I was bored by the story.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Film Festival Update

One week from today, I will be in New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival. This tribute to lower Manhattan has become an annual event for me. I love to visit this vivacious and comfortable neighborhood, and they put on one heck of a film event!! The films are diverse, the mood celebratory, and there are filmmakers and actors galore!! I have been to many screenings where most of the cast is in attendance with the filmmakers, the Q&A sessions are great!!!

As a bonus, the Newport Film Festival is hosting their spring fund raiser on Friday night, April 22nd, with a screening of Mad Hot Ballroom (which is showing at the Tribeca Film Festival also). This film is sold out in NY, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to see it in Newport, and help raise a little cash for my favorite local film festival. I'll be selling raffle tickets at the film and the gala ... look for tickets at

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Fever Pitch

I am a casual Red Sox fan. When it comes to sports, I usually don't pay attention until the playoffs of any given series, especially baseball. I didn't get on board with the Red Sox this year, until August! Growing up in New England, I am jaded from a childhood of rooting for a team , only to see them lose. The last few years have been very confusing, with the Patriots dominating football, and now the Red Sox win the World Series!?!?! I say "Yahoo!" but also "What-huh!?!?!"

The Farelly brothers have given us another romantic comedy, this time with the Red Sox as an actual character. These guys do a great job making the male lead vulnerable, lovable and all guy... Jimmy Fallon does a great job in this role (I was pleasantly surprised).

In general, this is a cute, well done romantic comedy. For this pedestrian Red Sox fan, getting to relive the excitement of the 2004 World Series, was worth the price of admission. GO SOX !!!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Film Fun

Thanks to all who shared their film favorites. It was fun for me to see what you've been watching over the years. This is a quiet time for film release, so I was happy to add some of your favorites to my rental list!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Heists and Heart

Oceans Twelve brings the Oceans Eleven gang back together. Much of the humor is tongue-in-cheek, as they put together a heist to pay off the first heist (huh?). The con is on the audience half the time. Ocean's Eleven is the better of the two movies, but this is a fun rental. Nice eye candy too!!

Another heist remake out in DVD this week is Criminal. The remake of the Argentinean film Nine Queens (which is well worth renting) has a strong cast and twists and turns nicely. Cons conning cons with millions at stake.

On a more serious subject, Hotel Rwanda is out in DVD this week. This is a story of the horrors that occurred in Rwanda, and how it affected a brave hotel manager and his family. A real eye opener.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Millions is the story of a boy who finds a pile of money. He wants to help the poor, and his brother sees it as a vehicle to possessions and power. Everyone who comes in contact with the money has a different agenda. Danny Boyle brings his beautiful technique, and an air of fantasy and suspense to this film. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Favorites of All Time

I love hearing what people think of films. My favorite morning radio program posed an interesting movie question, and I'd like to put it out there to my friends (thanks K). Has anything you've seen recently made it on to your all time favorite movie list? I posted my Top 10 movie list at the beginning of this blog back in November. The only "recent" films on that list were Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Lost in Translation (sadly displacing My Cousin Vinny and Shawshank Redemption). The most recent film I've seen that comes close to the Top 10, but is number 11 right now, is The Upside of Anger.

As of this date my all time favorite list approaches 50 films, but a little less than half were made in the last 5 years. Kind of interesting to me. I'd love to hear your all time favorite movie(s) and what recent film you've seen that has made it to the top!! Response can be in comment or e-mail ... look forward to it!

Get Inside the Characters

In DVD releases today are 2 films that do a good job helping the viewer get inside the characters.

All in all, Sideways is a wonderful film. Great writing, great acting, and characters with dimension. Some of them you may not like, but you understand them. Payne uses techniques that help us. There is a scene where the characters are drinking, that is shot all wobbly and out of focus, and then you realize he's trying to make you feel drunk to empathize with the character.

In Spanglish one of the characters speaks Spanish most of the time and there are no subtitles. I think this is done so the audience will experience the frustration of the non-Spanish speaking characters that can't understand her ..... very effective!!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sin City

Sin City is a highly stylized adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novels. I know nothing of the man's work, but this film blew my socks off!! It was a creative filmwork collaboration from the master, Robert Rodriguez, and Miller. Mob men chase good guys, chase bad guys, throw in a few prostitutes and, voila, a crazy thriller is born!! I think that the reason the violence doesn't bother me, is that he makes it so obvious that it's fantastical and, by no means, real. The effects are cool, and the use of black and white, with bits of color, are so creative. Every character has it's purpose and, in most cases, menace. I found this film VERY entertaining!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Upside of Anger

Terrific acting, a great script and a story with a bit of a twist, makes The Upside of Anger one of my favorite films so far this year. Joan Allen plays a woman who has to deal with 4 daughters and her own feelings when her husband disappears. Her neighbor gets involved, and relationships are born and progress. The audience I saw this with laughed out loud throughout, but at the moment of high drama, you could have heard a pin drop in that theater.