Monday, July 31, 2006

V for Vendetta out in DVD

V for Vendetta is out in DVD today. Graphic violence for past injustices, punctuate the actions of V. This is a film that makes a social statement.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Scoop is a nice tight Woody Allen comedy. There's a bit of a mystery, and plenty of funny lines, most coming from Allen. Add the eye candy and consistent delivery from Scarlet Johanssen and Hugh Jackman, and we have a nice summer comedy!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Miami Vice

More than one review I read about Michael Mann's latest feature film, Miami Vice, used the word sexy. I thought, how sexy can it be? Let me count the ways:
1. the sound of a Ferrari engine
2. shower scenes
3. Jamie Foxx
4. Colin Farrell salsa dancing .... yes, really dancing *sigh*
5. the strong silent look of a brooding man (many of them)

The story is no nonsense and moves right along, there is a lot of violence. The look of the film is dark, gritty and intense. Just about every shot is a study in angle, composition and lighting. I like this new look for a contemporary Crockett and Tubbs.


In Casanova, Heath Ledger uses his natural charisma to make you believe that he is a man that every woman he meets, wants to sleep with. Though not a groundbreaking film, this one is a satisfying rental. I liked it's sense of humor, casting and resolution. A light period film that I enjoyed.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Great New Wonderful

Five stories of five lives, that touch only briefly, make an interesting film. Taking place in September of 2002 in NYC, we watch these people deal with their everyday lives. Poignant and thought provoking, I liked this film.

Ask the Dust

The story of a struggling writer and a young woman looking for security, is a good love story. Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek make an interesting couple. There is more than a little chemistry between these two, who meet in Depression era LA. I liked the subtleties of this story, where the characters work for what they get, and take their lumps as they come. Idina Menzel, Donald Sutherland and Justin Kirk round out the supporting cast well. Satisfying drama.

Bryant Park Film Festival

In the summer, in New York's Bryant Park, they show films once a week, in the great outdoors. I had seen the setup for several years. A huge screen looms at the end of the lawn by day, by night the park becomes a movie theater, admission is free. You can bring a blanket and sit on the lawn. But this is New York City, so there are rules. The lawn is roped off in the afternoon, and people gather around the lawn. At 5:00 PM the rope is dropped, and people charge out on to the lawn with their blankets and picnic baskets, to claim a patch of grass. I was in Bryant Park on Monday afternoon, and witnessed this grand exodus, it was quite a sight!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Outside Johannesburg, a hoodlum steals a car, shoots it's owner and finds an infant in the back seat upon his escape. The events and the evolution of Tsotsi makes a good story for this Academy Award winning (Best Foreign Feature) film. Beautifully filmed and soulfully acted, this is a foreign film worth seeing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Clerks II

I wish I had been at the world premiere of Clerks II at the Cannes Film Festival, because I would have been standing along with the crowd that gave Kevin Smith an eight minute standing ovation! Clerks II picks up 10 years after Clerks, and the new job is at the fast food joint, Mooby's. The alumni cast is in place. For me, Randal is the star! Jennifer Schwalbach, Trevor Fehrman, Jason Lee and Rosario Dawson add wonderful dimension to the latest in Smith's brand of depraved, irreverent, brilliant humor. I was fortunate enough to see this film with an audience of fans that laughed loud and long, it was so much fun!!

The Laramie Project

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but in a discussion with my friend S about Brokeback Mountain, she said "you really should see The Laramie Project". What a wonderful film. Violence against gays is often justified. This film shows how this was not allowed in the case of the senseless beating death of Matthew Shepard in 1998. I'm glad to have seen this dramatic reenactment of the events and the people affected by this awful hate crime. A film well worth seeing.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

My Super Ex-Girlfriend is every man's nightmare. The girl you break up with has super-powers, and knows how to use them. Umma Thurman is great as the neurotic G Girl and Josh Lucas is the clueless boyfriend that takes bad relationship advice from his best friend, played by Rainn Wilson. Eddie Izzard and Anna Faris play the romantic foils well. They all end up following their hearts. A cute summer film that will be a great rental.

The Lady In the Water

The film interpretation of a bedtime story,The Lady in The Water, is slow and frustrating. Putting this kind of fantasy, in a modern setting, with men in plastic monkey suits, appears to have been a mistake. I will say, the acting was excellent, this is a very talented cast. For me there was no suspense, nothing scary, no story. Not my cup of tea.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monster House

Animation is one of my favorite film forms. From hand drawn, to computer generated, to stop action, I love the visual imagery. Monster House is done in motion capture animation, which we last saw in the Polar Express. Halloween is the setting for a group of kids dealing with the house across the street, that eats anyone that gets within its reach. The story was great, the characters entertaining and the visuals stunning!!! A very small person was asked, on the way out of the screening, "was it scary?". She said "Nahhhh", just as I was about to say "well yuhhhh". Does that make me a wimp?!?!!? Great film for brave 4 year olds and wide-eyed 50 year olds!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

You, Me and Dupree

I try to maintain the adage "if you can't say anything nice......" In You, Me and Dupree I can say that Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon look great, and try really hard to make this story work. I also got to spend time in the comfort of air conditioning on a 93 degree summer day. Nuff said. I think this movie just isn't my taste. I often don't get Owen Wilson's style. The story had potential, but just became annoying for me. The box office success may have been folks hopeful for a repeat of Wedding Crashers, but that never happened.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

The more I think about the film A Scanner Darkly, the more I find to like about it. The rotoscope animation is fascinating to watch, and I realize how tuned in to body language I am. The script is amazing, sometimes very funny and in the end very sobering. A futuristic slant on drug abuse, coupled with law enforcement tactics, linked with the consequences of addiction. *whew* The casting works, and the acting is spot on. Kudos to Linklater for having the vision to present this story in this form, it forces us to think on a creative and ethical level. This film is a cinematic and intellectual experience I really enjoyed. Well done in many ways.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Wordplay is a documentary about crossword puzzles .... yes, crossword puzzles, specifically, The New York Times crossword puzzle. The beauty of this film is not so much the subject, but the people. Puzzlers are passionate, and that is well represented in this film. Explanations of how a crossword puzzle is built, celebrities that do the puzzle and a tournament that has been held since 1978, make a subject that sounds mundane, pretty darn interesting and often funny. Who knew that John Stewart is an avid puzzler?!?!?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest

Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest is, in a word, fun !! OK, you want more words?? Davy Jones and his crew are creepy, Will Turner is swashbuckling, Elizabeth Swann is courageous, Norrington returns and Jack Sparrow .... ahhhhh Jack Sparrow!! Jack Sparrow is a visual sensation, every motion comes from his toes, and ends in his hat. The words, the look, he's all Pirate .... such a pleasure to watch. The special effects impressed me, loved the look of the film. To refute the critics, I enjoy being set up for a sequel. As satisfying as this adventure is, I can't wait for the next! Pirates rule!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Anticipating Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest

I've been looking forward to the second installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, since the end of Curse of the Black Pearl. I was so enchanted with the characters, the action , the story, in short, the pirates won me over. I've been trying to be cool about the impending opening of Dead Man's Chest on Friday, but when the latest issue of Rolling Stone landed in my mailbox today, with Jack Sparrow on the cover, I said "oh baby" ... out loud no one.... this concerns me. It's a movie, it's just a story, but what a movie, and what a story!! Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest is looking to be the movie to see this summer. I hope it lives up to the hype!!

Paper Clips

The documentary, Paper Clips, is a touching story of a middle school project that takes on the task of exposing a homogeneous group of kids to diversity. These white, Protestant 8th graders in TN know nothing different. Their teachers chose the holocaust as an exposure point. To emphasize the impact of how many people died in this horrific stage of history, they collect paper clips to understand the size of the number. The project escalates, relationships are forged and a heart warming film was made. This film is an interesting journey of human experience.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Libertine, The Matador and Find Me Guilty in DVD

Several films I really liked, are out in DVD. The Libertine is not for everyone. I had one guy tell me it was the worst movie he ever saw. I liked it. This is a period film about a vile man's life and death. Johnny Depp is great (as usual), but this movie is not for everyone.

The Matador is a different kind of comedy. A little dark, a little quirky, but Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear pull off this story of an assassin and a man who becomes an unwitting associate, rather well. I really liked it!

Find Me Guilty brought me the surprise of a great performance from Vin Diesel! This courtroom drama, based on the longest mob trial in history, is well done and interesting.

Failure to Launch

Failure to Launch is a romantic comedy that was better than I expected. Not great, but good enough for a summer rental and an entertaining Saturday night. A man in his 30s won't move out of his parent's home and they hire a young woman to accomplish just that. Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker have enough on-screen chemistry, and their friends supply good enough humor and back story. Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw play the parents, and they're pretty funny too. A satisfying comedy as a rental.