Monday, October 30, 2006

M:I:III and Mazel tov on DVD

Yes, Ethan Hunt is back for the third Mission Impossible installment. Tom Cruise teams up with J.J. Abrams for the latest mission that is action packed, and is a pretty good story.

Speaking of good stories, we also have Keeping Up With the Steins. A young man anticipates his bar mitzvah with a family that is not quite together. The family dynamics make this an interesting film.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Last King of Scotland

I've seen a lot of films based on historical characters and events lately. The Last King of Scotland is one of the best this year. The story is based on a novel, told from the point of view of the personal physician of Idi Amin. Amin starts out as engaging, and even likeable, then is revealed as a monster. An intense film with amazing acting, brilliant editing, cool music and graphic insight to the political climate in Uganda in the 70's.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Queen

The Queen is one of the best films I've seen this year. Stephen Frears takes a bold look at the days following the death of Princess Diana. It is a portrayal of the decisions and motivations of Queen Elizabeth during that week. It shows a very personal and human side to the Queen and her early relationship with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Helen Mirren gives a wonderful performance as the Queen. The politics of the monarchy and Britain are interesting.

Looking for Kitty

At the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005, I saw a hansom young man talking to media on the red carpet. It was Edward Burns, on his way to a screening of his film Looking for Kitty. Available in DVD, I enjoyed this film today. The story of a man who hires a private investigator to find his wife in New York City, is poignant and well made. Burns does a nice job with this film.

Catch a Fire

The political thriller, Catch a Fire, takes place in Apartheid-run South Africa in the 1980's. A man is unjustly arrested and accused of being a terrorist. His actions after this become the story. Based on a true story, this film raised my awareness to this disturbing time in history.

Friday, October 27, 2006

So, I Have These Friends .......

I love talking to people about movies. It is so fun to ask people what movies they've seen, what they like, what they're guilty pleasures are, etc..... My friends S and D came to visit. They are very knowledgeable on film, and we always have great conversations about what we've seen, and always end up offering each other recommendations of what to see. In this visit I added Dr. Zhivago and Iron Will to my DVD queue. And I let them borrow my copy of the lovely film Pieces of April. Good films to look forward to!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monster House in DVD for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, the animated feature, Monster House, is out in DVD this week. I thought some of the scenes were pretty intense, but the kids I saw the film with were braver than me! One of the best films of the summer.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Marie Antoinette

The film Marie Antoinette is a visual treat. Between the clothes, the food and the scenery, we are barraged with beautiful scenes frame after frame. This makes up for all the areas of not much. Plot? not much. Dialogue? not much. Sofia Coppola is masterful at conveying mood and emotion through visual images. In this period of French history, she helps us feel the boredom and frustration of the young, royal, idol rich. Kirsten Dunst is effervescent in her portrayal of the young queen. An interesting view of this part of French history.


Project Greenlight, a program for wannabe filmmakers, has produced a horror film as it's latest piece. The film Feast is a crazy night at a bar in the middle of nowhere that is under attack by a horrible monster that wants revenge for the accidental death of it's offspring. People are disemboweled, limbs fly and folks are swallowed whole. It is a bloody battle. There is a lot of screaming, swearing, gore and humor. Yes, humor. This is a clever horror film that is not for the weak of stomach.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Prestige

Revenge and deceit are the centerpieces of The Prestige. Two rival magicians, in turn of the century London, are out to destroy each other. They are trying to learn each other's secrets to have the ultimate illusion. This film is well cast, well acted, beautifully filmed and edited. The story itself weakens in the final act, when the secrets are unveiled. The reveal was disappointing for me, and the actual explanation is confusing. Worth seeing, but not as satisfying as I'd like.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

La Chiva - Vote for this Film

Parents can be the best cheerleaders for artists. I have seen many directors and actors supported and cheered on by their parents. I received an e-mail from the mother of a local girl, who is in a short film, that is in competition to be screened at Sundance 2007. The movie is called "La Chiva" it is a short film (5 mins) that Mercury/Ford is sponsoring with NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers). You can go to to vote for this film. The winners will be screened at The Sundance Film Festival in January. It's easy to register, log on and help this young actress realize her dream of going to Sundance with this wonderful little film. Thanks!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Critters, Couples and Dreamz in DVD

Out in DVD this week are a few films from this summer. The Breakup is an interesting relationship drama. Over the Hedge is a cute animated film about a crew of animals, that show us the nonsense of the human world, with laughs for young and old. American Dreamz is a satire of the pop music industry, with a little terrorist activity on the side.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Encore for Little Miss Sunshine

I saw Little Miss Sunshine back on August 9th, and declared it my favorite movie of the summer. Since then, I have taken a fair amount of ribbing from my favorite morning radio team at 92 ProFM on Friday Flick Picks. Teased about my enthusiasm over this film, I felt the need to revisit the film, and see if I still felt the same. This afternoon, I sat in a theater with people who laughed and cheered for young Olive and her family. This film is a winner on so many levels, people still applaud as the credits roll!

Man of the Year

In Man of the Year, Robin Williams' character, Tom Dobbs, is likeable as a candidate for president. As in the film Dave, we get the mental fantasy of a down to earth, practical person running this country. The first half of this film works, the second half is boring. The story is fine, things go wrong, things get screwy, it's actually interesting. The film gets way to dragged out, I just wanted them to get to the point. Another example of a film that could have been very entertaining, but gets in it's own way.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


As I have written before, I loved the book In Cold Blood. The film Infamous chronicles the years Truman Capote spent writing it. Sound familiar? It should. This was also the subject of the film Capote, released last year. The films are similar, in that they capture the events, people and period very well. Where they vary is emotion. Infamous gets inside the head and heart of Capote more, and, in some ways, is not very flattering. An all-star cast puts in solid performances, especially Toby Jones as Capote. Sandra Bullock gives a wonderful performance as Capote's dear friend, Nelle Harper Lee, and Jeff Daniels wins me over once again, as Alvin Dewey. Daniel Craig flexes his acting chops (and a few other muscles) as the murderer Perry Smith. An emotionally intense film I enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Radio and TV on DVD

Next to film, live radio is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. A Prairie Home Companion is a great look at the last night of a live radio program. An amazing cast powers this story with humor and love. A TV remote becomes a character in the film Click. It powers the plot, and controls the characters' destiny. This is not a light comedy,it reveals dire consequences of careless desire. Both of these are solid rentals.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep makes so much sense to me. The latest offering from Michel Gondry is creative and innovative. I have very vivid dreams, I sometimes wish I could record them for others to see. This film fulfils that wish in the character of Stephan. He bounces back and forth from dreams to reality. This film can be confusing until you give in to Stephan's world. In dreams it moves toward whimsy, in reality he struggles. This film was a wonderful experience for me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Departed

Martin Scorsese has created a masterpiece in The Departed. Fast-paced, gritty, twisting, this story takes us into the mob, and the police that are trying to bring them down. But there are moles, rats and liars at every turn. The chase is intense and the end startling. The performances are top notch, the dialogue sometimes funny. Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damen, Wahlberg, Farmiga, Sheen and Baldwin deliver rock solid performances. Though violent, the editing, music and script bring this film together as a work of art.

Classic Films Bring Comfort

I was away this weekend, traveled to Maine for a college parent's weekend. My friend S and I stayed in a hotel with cable TV. Classic films were prominent whenever we turned on the TV. When I arrived, A Few Good Men was on. The acting and script are amazing. Forgot what a good movie that is. The next day, Rain Man came on and I was once again reminded of a film with a great script and wonderful acting. Walk the Line kept us company as we enjoyed our morning coffee. Before we left, The Legend of Bagger Vance came on, love Matt Damen and Will Smith in that one. Fun to have a few great classic on TV in the background when you travel, kind of like comfort food!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Action and Spin on DVD

I have seen two of the films out in DVD this week. X-Men:The Last Stand is a good action finale (yeah right) to this series. Thank You For Smoking is a smart satire of how we communicate. The product is cigarettes, but the theme is presentation.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fred Rogers:America's Favorite Neighbor

The documentary Fred Rogers:America's Favorite Neighbor, is an interesting history of the man. In my early years of babysitting, MisterRogers Neighborhood came to PBS in this area. I took great comfort in this gentle man's simple message of self-worth. To hear "you are special" every day, was powerful. I got as much out of his message as my small charges. Years later, I watched his show with my own children. With this film, a dear friend came back into my home. Especially impressive were the segments where he charmed both Joan Rivers and John Pastore (Senator from RI) with his demeanor, sensibility and sense of humor.

I know of two young men that are working on a film right now, called Mister Rogers & Me. This will be another documentary I hope to enjoy, embodying Fred Rogers' philosophy of "deep and simple" to people and the world.