Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Lake House in DVD

I like a good romance on film. The Lake House is the story of a couple who exchange messages through a magic mailbox, that instantly transports messages over the years (better than e-mail). A bit far fetched, but I gave in to it and enjoyed this film.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


In my younger days I worked for a local airshow, and have often been accused of having a soft-spot for Flyboys. After seeing the latest Tony Bill film, reenacting the adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of Americans helping the French hold off the Germans in World War I, I can comfortably say "guilty". Biplane and jet aerobatics come from the dogfight maneuvers developed in the early 1900's. Snap-rolls, hammer heads and rapid climb and descent were all a product of the very rudimentary elements of air combat. Though all the dogfight scenes in Flyboys are CGI, they are impressive to watch, and had me on the edge of my seat. When they went after the zepplin in one of the final battles, I thought, something's gonna blow, and I was right! Though a little long, this is a good war film that has a very real feel, develops the characters well and throws in a love story. I enjoyed this look at some of my favorite heroes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

School for Scoundrels

School for Scoundrels is a film about overcoming the loser syndrome. This is John Heder's film. Some very funny dialogue and a cameo appearance (I will not reveal who it is here) that surprises and delights. A decent comedy.

All the King's Men

All the King's Men is another film made this year that should have worked, and doesn't. An all star cast does their job, but the film is a mess. The best scenes are the subtle ones, when the film tries to be dramatic it falls flat. Performances are strong (Penn tends to overact) but none of it gels. An unfortunate film.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston is a songwriter and artist. In the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston we see the story of this man's art in song and drawings. A manic depressive who has been in and out of mental hospitals, he has been a very productive song writer and artist. This film chronicles his life, the genius of his art and gets to the love and devotion of his family, friends and fans.


Kyra Sedgwick plays Emily,an overprotective mother, in Loverboy. Her character aggressively pursues having a child, and loves, nurtures and protects him for six years. When the boy wants to interact with the rest of the world, Emily can't deal. Well written and acted, the flashback style explains Emily's motivation in the events of her childhood.

The Wild

The Wild is an animated film about the rescue of a lion cub by his father. The animals have to leave the safety of the zoo to find the cub in "the wild". A lot of familiar themes, the animation style is cool looking.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


The Quinceanera is a coming of age party for 15 year old girls of Mexican heritage. This is the story of Magdalena who, weeks before her Quinceanera, discovers she's pregnant. Her family is disgraced, and she goes to live with her 84 year old great, great Uncle and outcast cousin. The relationships and situations are very real, and are treated with respect and love. This film is worthy of all the praise it has received since it's stellar opening at Sundance in January. This film was also screened at the Newport Film Festival this summer, and I met the very engaging, polite and hansom Jesse Garcia, who played Magdalena's cousin,Carlos. Keep an eye on this talented young actor.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Black Dahlia

I wish I could say that I liked Black Dahlia .... I really wanted to. A wonderful cast and an interesting Hollywood who dunnit, this should have been a no brainer. Aside from beautiful cinematography, and one scene that was so ridiculous it entertained me, I was flat out bored. A shame.


The outstanding element of the film Hollywoodland is the acting. Ben Affleck, Adrien Brody and Diane Lane give such solid performances. As a detective, Brody presents three possible scenarios that lead to the shooting death of George Reeves, the original TV Superman. Lane and Affleck are a Hollywood couple that use each other. Affleck has such a strong screen presence, and plays Reeves' personality beautifully. Lane plays Toni Mannix (MGM Studio boss' wife) as charming, vulnerable and gorgeous. Brody's story becomes tedious, and ends on a limp note, but the performances hold up.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Evening in RI

The latest in a growing list of films being made in the lovely little state of Rhode Island, is the film Evening. I have read that the cast is amazing, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Claire Danes and Patrick Wilson. I have had the pleasure of meeting the casting director for this film, Kerry Barden and both Ms. Streep and Gummer (mother and daughter). Gonna keep my eyes open when I'm out and about, you never know when that brush with celebrity could happen again!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Slevin on DVD

Lucky Number Slevin is out in DVD today. This film is a twisting turning who dunnit, punctuated with violence and deceit.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Half Nelson

A young teacher with a crack habit befriends a young girl in Half Nelson. Their relationship is the core of the film, and it is portrayed beautifully. Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps give heartfelt performances. I think this is an exploration of what relationships are made of. Well done and worth seeing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

In DVD This Week

The two films I've seen being released to DVD are VERY different.

Kinky Boots is a classic success story based on real events. Uplifting and entertaining.

United 93 is the story of the ill-fated flight that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, after being hijacked by terrorists.

Both films are worth seeing.

Land of the Blind

We don't know what country it is, we don't know when this story takes place, but in Land of the Blind , corruption of power is the core theme. Ralph Finnes and Donald Sutherland give outstanding performances as two men who start out as allies, and end up enemies. A good political thriller, some vulgar elements give this film a gritty undertone.

Leonard Cohen:I'm Your Man

The haunting poetry and melodies of songwriter Leonard Cohen, are the subject of the documentary, Leonard Cohen:I'm Your Man. He tells stories from his life and gives insight to his songwriting process. I found the performances mesmerizing, and the man endearing.


In Crank, a hit man is injected with a synthetic poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops too low. He races around in a manic frenzy, trying to keep his adrenaline up until he can find an antidote. The visuals and film style give you his perspective. It is a crazy ride with an unexpected ending.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I love listening to people's reactions after a movie. When the credits started to roll at Invincible, the story of Philadelphia Eagle's Vince Papale in the mid 70s, a young boy behind me said, "it's over?". The ultimate compliment. He went on to tell his Mother that he wanted to see more. Another family was behind me walking out, and the father was explaining the special teams dynamic to his young son, who had a game the next day. The latest of Disney's underdog-succeeds-defying-enormous-odds films, this time the sport is football, is well done. I liked how they depicted the overwhelming scope of professional sports to the average guy. The game scenes are well filmed and very intense. Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinear give solid performances.

Sketches of Frank Gehry

The documentary, Sketches of Frank Gehry, is an interesting look at the work of this contemporary architect. The beauty of his work is explored through its origins and inspiration. Gehry's process is a good study of teamwork. Beautifully shot and directed by Sidney Pollack. A personal film.