Monday, April 24, 2006

Matchpoint and Shopgirl in DVD

A film worth checking out is Matchpoint. A young man uses people to get what he wants, good twist at the end.

Steve Martin takes a dramatic turn with Claire Danes in Shopgirl. Two very different love stories take an emotional ride.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Sentinel

Michael Douglas is the ultimate movie star in my eyes. The Sentinel is an OK cop (Secret Service) drama about a mole in the Secret Service who is out to kill the president. Douglas commands this film and the screen. The voice, the profile, the presence. If you can't tell, I've been a huge fan for years. Kim Basinger, Kiefer Sutherland and Eva Longoria have their moments, but this film is all Douglas .... *sigh*

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

This film is the best example of what competition should be like, a spelling bee is the arena. Akeelah and the Bee, takes the classic underdog story to a new level, with the message of compassion, teamwork and love at the core, without being cheesy. It's hip, it's real, and the audience I saw this with, applauded as the credits rolled!

American Dreamz

The combination of politics, terrorists and American pop culture makes interesting bedfellows in American Dreamz. A sarcastic, no nonsense script, clever plot and surprise ending equals a very entertaining movie for me.

Friends With Money

Every once in a while, a great script captures the subtle basis of relationships. Friend With Money is one of those scripts. Both friendships and marriages are explored. A stellar cast navigates these relationships with interesting dialogue and masterful delivery.

My Neighbor Totoro

Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki, tells a charming story of a family dealing with a sick mother, and a country house filled with friendly spirits. Cute and clever, this is a wonderful film for children and adults.

Friday, April 21, 2006

TFF Buzz

As April 25th approaches I am reading more and more buzz about the Tribeca Film Festival. I am VERY excited, because I have purchased a ton of tickets, made plans with friends and family for lunches and diners and I'm going to Oasis Day Spa!!!!!! (thanks M&J) I have attended since 2003. On the 5th anniversary of this film festival, it is expanding from lower Manhattan, to theaters all over the city, and I'M GOING TO BE THERE!!!! I've got a sharpie for autographs, good walking shoes and a silly smile I can't wipe off my face in anticipation of the event! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Celebrity Interviews a la Merv

Way before Entertainment Tonight, Extra and Access Hollywood, the king of the celebrity interview, for me, was Merv Griffin. When I was young, my mother always had a TV on while she prepared dinner, and The Merv Griffin Show was in that time slot. I would be helping my mother set the table with star after star being interviewed in the background. For a while, I aspired to appear on Merv's show (not sure what my claim to fame would have been). This was how I learned about Jack Benny, the Gabor sisters, Phyllis Diller, Charo, George Burns, and the hottest up and coming actors in Hollywood. Back then, I didn't go to the movies much, but I certainly knew the players. When Merv stopped doing the show, 20 years ago, I felt a loss.

Today I received a compilation of 40 of his interviews on DVD, and I feel like it's Christmas in April!! Looking at the list of interviews, I remember seeing many of them first hand. So nice to have Merv back with me, I've missed him!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mrs. Henderson Presents

Out in DVD this week, Mrs. Henderson Presents, is a great rental. The story of a widow looking for purpose, buys a theater and navigates the business of entertainment in London. A nude tableau saves the show, and the theater prospers. This film is well written and the acting is topnotch.

Breakfast on Pluto

Breakfast on Pluto is a sweet story of self discovery. A baby is left on a church doorstep and is placed in foster care. As the boy grows, he longs for his parents, and spends a good amount of his energy trying to find his mother. Over the years he builds his own family in his friends, as a transvestite with a mission. Cillian Murphy, who has played bad guys in Batman and Red Eye, transforms to a character that pulls at your heartstrings. Set in London, this story also addresses the Irish conflict. This film is out in DVD this week.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lucky Number Slevin

In the first 15 minutes of Lucky Number Slevin, 11 people are killed. The story moves forward for a while, but when we are finally taken back to the beginning, nothing is as it appears. Gambling, loan sharks, debt, revenge and murder all figure in. When all the details are revealed, it's one heck of a story!!

An Unfinished Life

An Unfinished Life is an interesting story. A young woman (played by Jennifer Lopez), and her daughter, seek refuge with the woman's late husband's father, after her boyfriend beats her up .... again. Grandpa (played by Robert Redford)does not know he has an 11 year old grandchild. He daily grieves his son, and his best friend was almost killed in a bear attack the year before. The drama ensues, and the story unfolds. Morgan Friedman, Camryn Manheim and Becca Gardner give wonderful performances.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Take the Lead

Antonio Banderas acts more than he dances in this film. As the idealistic Pierre Dulaine, he tries to make a difference, with ballroom dancing, in an urban high school. The film is about 15 minutes longer than need be, but drives home the old "take an interest in kids, and they will flourish" theme. Stylish editing, and Banderas carry this film.

Thank You for Smoking

More than a story about tobacco, this film is about the art of debate. How well can you argue? Clever and sarcastic, a comment on public image and spin.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Little Manhattan

One of those "damn kids" that fly down the sidewalks on razor scooters is the central character of Little Manhattan. He's 10 years old, has fallen in love and a 9 block radius of the Upper West Side is his world. This is a nice coming of age story that I found funny and relevant. Well done.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ticket Buzz

I received confirmation on my tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival yesterday. Yes, I am a card carrying, hat and t-shirt wearing fan of this film festival! The accessibility, the films, the film folk .... and ,hey, it's New York !! I've taken my last few vacations at this film festival, and have never been disappointed .... did I mention it's New York!?!??! I have tickets to a couple of sold out films and discussion panels .... can't wait for May!!!!

Ice Age: The Meltdown

I think it's fun to see a kid's movie in a theater full of kids. When I took my nephews I&K to see Ice Age:The Meltdown, the theater was jammed. This is a cute animated story, the kids laughed out loud many times. Fun stuff for the younger set.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brokeback and Narnia in DVD

Brokeback Mountain is out in DVD this week. This film was a sensation on the award circuit. I did not have the same enthusiasm for this film, but it was well acted and shot .... beautiful cinematography. Rent it and decide for yourself.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes out in 2 forms of DVD also (one or two discs). This is a wonderful interpretation of the tale, great for all ages!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Find Me Guilty

Sidney Lumet has made another wonderful film, with another real-life subject. Find Me Guilty is the story of the longest mob trial in history, where Jack DiNorscio chooses to defend himself. I can't believe I'm writing this, but Vin Diesel is excellent in this role. His chemistry with Ron Silver, as the judge, and Peter Dinklage as one of the lawyers, is compelling. Anabella Sciorra (Gloria from the Sopranos) is intense in a short scene, playing Jack's wife. The lighting and sets are rich, and help set the tone. If you like courtroom drama with a mob theme, check this one out.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Inside Man

Inside Man is an itellectual heist film, that had so many twists, I'd like to see the beginning again, to resolve some points in my mind. Snappy dialogue and great film style, gave this film an edgy tone. The racist and sexist undertones set a tough stage. There are tons of plot holes, but the good outweighs the bad, and this comes off as a pretty clever robbery.

PS Even though Clive Owen is hidden by a mask and jumpsuit, he's still looks hot!


Here I go again, quality series television is alive and well in Huff. I like to watch series television on DVD, because it feels like a movie when you can watch several episode without interruption. Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex in the City, Lost, 24, Angels in America, Empire Falls and now Huff, are all series I have enjoyed on DVD. This drama, with a splash of humor, deals with the family and friends of Huff. He is a psychiatrist, whose patient shoots himself, right in his office, in the pilot episode. Another series that is very well written, cast, acted and developed. I'm only 3 episodes deep and I'm hooked!!