Sunday, May 29, 2005

Satisfaction from the Sith

Star Wars Episode III:Revenge of the Sith, was pure storytelling satisfaction for me. George Lucas has given us 28 years to enjoy and absorb a story that is filled with fantasy, love, action, friendship and political conflict. Not always the best acting, but the story is played out well, and the action and special effects make it all worthwhile.

Revenge of the Sith fills in the blanks, and ties all 6 films together, to tell a great story. I now know why Darth Vader was so convicted, and where Leia got that funky hairdo!!! Bravo to the sound crew, and John Williams for the dramatic score (I smell and Oscar nom). All in all a fun summer movie, and satisfying finale to the Star Wars legacy.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Big Picture

In anticipation of the Newport International Film Festival I sat down with the Christopher Guest mockumentary, The Big Picture. This tongue-in-cheek look at filmmaking in Hollywood was very entertaining! Kevin Bacon's fantasy scenes were my favorite, a look into the creative mind. It was also fun to see Bacon and Terry Hatcher 15 years younger (they haven't changed much)!!

More on the film festival to come ... starts June 7th, boxoffice opens this weekend. Woo hoo!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

DVD of the week

There is only one DVD release worth mentioning this week. The Aviator is out in DVD this week. Scorsese and DiCaprio put this passionate story on film, and it is a pleasure.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Shout Out

A little time out from movies for a quick shout out.

Congratulations to my daughter, Liza, on her graduation from Hofstra University yesterday. She is a frequent reader of this blog, and has been accepted to the NYC Teaching Fellows program. Well done!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Anticipating Star Wars

As midnight, and the release of the final Star Wars installment approaches, I'll admit it here, I love all the hype that is Star Wars, and especially Revenge of the Sith! Yes it's cheesy, yes it's commercial, but after 6 films and 28 years, I say BRING IT ON!!!! I love the toys, the pajamas, the drink cups, the Pez dispensers, the plastic light sabers, the party decorations, the costumed fans, and on and on ..... It is marketing genius, and the movies are wonderful. Fantasy movie magic at it's best! I have been enjoying the adventures of the Star Wars gang for more than half of my life, and I can't wait for the final installment!! Thank you Mr. Lucas ....


Swingers is a film from the mid 90's that I have often seen referenced, but never taken the time to watch. Written by, and starring John Favreau, and co-staring Vince Vaugn, these guys and their cronies crawl the LA nightlife looking for a good time. I was pleasantly surprised by the acting and the writing. There is a dance scene at a club near the end, that has couples swing dancing to the music of The Big Bad VooDoo Daddies. This scene was so much fun to watch, I had to rewind a couple of times! Favreau's character grows in such a way, that this film had a very satisfying ending for me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sex or Violence !?!?

They have always said the two things that sell are sex and violence, we have both in DVD release today. Team America:World Police is violent (yeah, violent puppets), vulgar, offensive and funny as hell. I was highly entertained by this political and social satire.

On a gentler note, Kinsey, is a biopic about Alfred Kinsey, a scientist, who approached sex as a research subject. The acting in this is wonderful, and the history and attitudes toward sex are interesting.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Chorus

I saw The Chorus (Les Choristes) last night, and was very impressed. This Academy Award nominated, French film is the story of the impact of music on the young men and their teachers at a boarding school for delinquent and orphaned boys. I enjoyed the story, the music and the cinematography .... Bravo!!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Star Wars - Shortman Parallels

So, while watching a special about the history of Star Wars, I've discovered some very strange parallels between Star Wars movie releases and my daughters. When The Empire Strikes Back was released, in May of 1980, I was pregnant with Melanie. When Return of the Jedi was released, in May of 1983, I was pregnant with Liza. Episode II:Attack of the Clones was released the week of Melanie's college graduation in 2002. Now, Episode III:Revenge of the Sith, is being released the week of Liza's college graduation. Doesn't mean a thing, but I do love synchronicities .....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Local Film

The Last Shot is a film about an FBI sting, using the guise of making a film, to lure the felons. My favorite line is at the beginning of the film, when the agent asks "They've got mobsters in Rhode Island??" Yes, Rhode Island stars along with Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Tony Shalub, Toni Collette and Calista Flockhart. This film entertained me, and it was a hoot to watch these big stars wander around the state landfill and re-routed river. Not bad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pillow Promotion

My favorite morning radio show has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. They are always trying to come up with the next great business idea. There was talk of a toast store a while back (they even bought a toaster).

Some poor sleeping postures, got them thinking of a store that just sells pillows. They have come up with an initial investment of $113.65 (unless there's another trip to Ben & Jerry's). They could be well on their way to success! The discussion this morning was primarily about a great name for the store. Of course, my mind immediately turned to the 1959 film, Pillow Talk, (excellent romantic comedy with Rock Hudson and Doris Day).

While brainstorming their advertising strategy, they asked if I would promote their store on this blog. So for all you folks in southern New England, who madly dashed to a pad to write down this blog address, keep an eye out for the biggest sensation to hit the bedding industry!!! When they land on a name you can read it here first!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Big Names

There are big names in DVD releases I like this week. Al Pacino stars in The Merchant of Venice. This version of the Shakespeare classic is well done. Bill Murray leads an all-star cast in the silly film The Life Aquatic. Cate Blanchette, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston and Jeff Goldblum bring us this cute homage to Jacque Cousteau. Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson headline the film In Good Company, an early release this year, that should do very well in DVD.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Can a man go from successful TV writer (Facts of Life, Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Diffr'nt Strokes, LA Law, thirtysomething....) to movie screenwriter?!?! Oh yeah!!!! Paul Haggis was the screenwriter on Million Dollar Baby (need I say more?) and has hit a home run with me, with the new release, Crash. Along with Robert Moresco, he wrote a gloves-off look at race and human relationships. The quick pace between scenes and stories worked well. The acting was top notch, not a weak performance in this large cast. This is not easy stuff to watch, but well worth the ride. I'll be thinking about this film for a while.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Phantom DVD

Awesome costumes, colors and cinematography, in the latest version of The Phantom of the Opera, make this movie worth seeing. I'm not a huge fan of the story, but visually, this is a beautiful film. Joel Schumacher brings style and energy to this classic musical.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Interpreter

I wanted to see The Interpreter with a New York audience, so I ventured uptown on Friday to the Lowe's on 19th Street. I like to watch a film when I'm familiar with the filming location. From Brooklyn to Chelsea, New York played it's part well. I've never been to the UN, it looks beautiful inside. Have to put that tour on my list for future NYC visits. This was a solid political thriller, well written, well acted and directed.

Tribeca Recap

I'm back from my week at the Tribeca Film Festival, it was a great time!!! These are the films and faces I saw ....

Five Children and It is a charming British film about a family of children that discover the dangers and wonder of wishes. Henson productions is involved in this project so not only is the writing and acting great, but the special effects and "It" are enchanting! The screenwriter and his family were there.

The Tenants is a film adapted from a novel by Bernard Malamud. It is a drama, a love story and thriller all in one. Dylan McDermott, Snoop Dogg, Seymour Cassel and Danny Greene were all there for the Q&A. I was sitting among the production cast, so the eavesdropping was great!!

Reeker was a great horror film that was a nice blend of slasher and humor. The director and 2 of the actors were there.

Based on a True Story is a documentary about the actual robbery that Dog Day Afternoon is based on. It was a very interesting film. Famous faces there were Walter Stokman (the director of the film), Sidney Lumet (director of Dog Day Afternoon), Frank Pierson (writer of the screenplay for Dog Day Afternoon), the bank robber's ex-wife and two of the bank hostages. It was a very interesting Q&A.

Deep Blue was a wild underwater documentary with some hypnotic camera work, beautiful film. I had the pleasure of a running commentary from a little boy going on behind me that was priceless!

Melanie and Liza joined me for the film The Sisters on Wednesday night. This film was based on a Chekhov play, The 3 Sisters. A star studded dysfunctional family story, well done and the director and screenwriter were at the Q&A.

On Thursday I saw 2 short film programs. In Side Effects May Vary there were 7 films with all kinds of gross things going on. Not for the weak of stomach, but very entertaining. Got to chat with the filmmaker, Bill Plimpton before the screening. His film "Guard Dog" was nominated for an academy award this past year. Triggerstreet Shorts was a collection of 12 short films from the Triggerstreet folks who promote and support fledgling filmmakers. All the filmmakers were there and a lot of suits from the website's sponsor, Budweiser. You can see and submit films at

It was a great week, can't wait for next year!!!