Monday, July 30, 2007

Enforcers in DVD

Traveling to an out of town wedding this weekend left me no time for movies, thus no new films to comment on. The wedding was a blast, all the best to Laura and Elliot!!! (Elliot's Mom is one of my movie buds, the Boston navigator) . So .... it's all about DVD releases this week!

Hot Fuzz is a cheeky cop movie satire from the Brits. Laugh-out-loud funny, this film was fun for me.

300 has the head dogs of Sparta (480 BC) fighting the Persians with all they've got. The bodies pile up and the visuals are amazing.

Lonely Hearts has 2 detectives chasing 2 serial killers. This well acted story, based on true events (told by the grandson of one of the detectives), makes for a good historical crime thriller.

*warning* use of blood and violence is rampant in all of these films ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I'm on my annual summer adventure in New York City. My friend Susan and I toddle around the big city for a couple of days each summer. The weather is usually great, but yesterday torrential rain was the order of the day ... all day. So we dried out in the AMC Empire 25 and enjoyed the movie Hairspray. We saw the show on Broadway last year, and thought it only appropriate to see the movie together in the same city. I loved the music, the dancing, the humor, the drama, the performances are outstanding. Who knew Christopher Walken could sing and dance!?!? Such a fun movie!

BTW, the Broadway show we chose this year was Avenue Q ..... fantastic!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monsters and Murder in DVD

There are some great movies out in DVD this week. My favorite is The Host. A fantastic monster movie with a good, often funny, story. Zodiac is based on the investigation of the Zodiac killer. The story of 2 journalist who spent years investigating the case is compelling. Slow Burn is a good cops, chasing the assassins, chasing the FBI story. Twists and turns abound, I liked this one.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Reservations

I'll begin by saying I'm not a very good cook. I appreciate food prepared well, but when it comes to doing it myself, not so much. I have had trouble understanding the recent popularity of cooking shows like Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen and the like. I just don't care about the process. I felt better after seeing Ratatouille, because although I didn't care about the cooking, the story set in a kitchen, worked for me. Drawn more to No Reservations by it's cast, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Abigail Breslin and Aaron Eckhart, than the story of chefs, I saw this film with a friend who knows a lot more about cooking than I. Again, the kitchen setting worked.

In No Reservations a successful NY chef (Zeta-Jones) suddenly finds herself the guardian of her young niece (Breslin). (Can you say Raising Helen?) As she needs time to deal with the situation, her boss brings another chef into her kitchen (Eckhart). Formula plots develop, I found the relationship between the aunt and niece to be the most interesting. A little more somber than I expected, but the light moments work well. The focus on cooking was left on the back burner, but food was used well in developing the relationships of the characters. A cute mid-summer film.

Friday, July 20, 2007


As I sought out American Psycho and The Machinist after seeing Batman Begins, I was compelled to see Equilibrium after seeing Rescue Dawn. I find Christian Bale interesting to watch whatever the project. In Equilibrium, he plays an enforcement agent in a futuristic society were emotion is forbidden. Great fight scenes, very choreographed and stylish. Impressive visuals, stunning cinematography, I loved the look of this film. Bale plays his character confident and intense, TayeDiggs and Sean Bean play strong supporting roles. This film was a good find!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lovely Ladies in DVD

Sienna Miller puts in an impressive performance as "it" girl Edie Sedegwick in Factory Girl, out in DVD this week. Set in the mid 60s, a young socialite pursues a life in the art world of New York City. Andy Warhol is a key figure. Well worth a look.

The film Premonition is also out there as a rental. A story of a woman dealing with grief. Sandra Bullock is very good in this.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Flick 4 Friday : A Memorable Movie Experience

In response to the request of Ryan over at popcorn, soda and goobers, this post is one of my memorable movie experiences. If you've been reading here for any period of time, you know that going to the movies is often an experience for me. This started early for me.

My first memorable movie experience was Mary Poppins, 1964. I was 8 and my grandfather took me to the Majestic Theater in downtown Providence, RI. Not only was I overwhelmed by the huge theater (to a little girl, all theaters are huge), but the film was magical to me. The combination of animation and live action, a beautiful Julie Andrews, a dashing Dick Van Dyke, music and dancing, what an introduction to film! And me on the arm of my dashing grandfather, whom I adored. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Talk to Me

The next film on the aforementioned "adventure" was Talk to Me. A biopic of the radio career of Petey Greene, in the mid '60's. I have always been a big fan of Don Cheadle, and this could be his most charismatic role yet. I also enjoy the work of Chiwetel Edjiofor who plays Petey's manager and best friend, Dewey Hughes. Hughes has big dreams for Petey and himself. A strong portrayal of two men's careers, in the midst of a turbulent time. The reactions to the death of Martin Luther King are especially poignant and well done. Also worth noting is the performance of Taraji Henson as Vernell, Petey's loyal, supportive girlfriend. I really enjoyed this film. Again, well worth the trip!

Rescue Dawn

Limited release films don't open in RI very often. The closest theaters for these independant films are in Boston. A tricky city to navigate for the unfamiliar. When a film beckons from Bean Town, I call my friend Debbie, and offer her "an adventure". Translation: a couple of good films and a meal, in exchange for being my navigator on the mean streets of Boston. We also get to catch up on each other's busy lives for a few hours on the ride. She took the bait today. Armed with detailed directions, we got lost on the first go round, trying to find a Landmark Cinema in Cambridge. Ironically, we ended up in front of a Loews Cinema we have been to before. Though I was ready to give up and just go to the Loews, with 45 minute to spare and yankee perseverance, Debbie got the map out of the glove box, figured out where we went wrong (Mass. DOT does not feel the need to mark all it's roadways, go figure why we got lost), and in 30 minutes we were pulling into the parking garage next to the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema. Woo Hoo!!

The first film on the schedule was Rescue Dawn. The true story of Dieter Dengler in the early stages of the Vietnam conflict. Shot down and taken captive in Laos, this is a harrowing tale of survival and escape. Werner Herzog brings his beautiful style to this story, with wonderful performances from Christian Bale and Steve Zahn.

Well worth the ride and the adventure!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Astronaut Farmer

I have always been fascinated with space. I grew up in the era of the space race, and much of the news in my formative years was about advances in space travel. I have always thought that astronauts were very brave. The Astronaut Farmer is about a man who dreams of traveling into space, and he takes his family along on the dream. Charles Farmer actually builds a rocket in his barn to pursue the adventure of a lifetime. A story of dreams, family and perseverance. Add the FBI and the concept of finance (do you know what rocket fuel costs?) and you have a good movie. This was a solid rental for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a wonderful addition to the series. The most sophisticated of the films in style and content, the students of Hogwarts are growing up well. We learn a lot about wizard politics. Harry and the gang take on the evil Voldemort and Umbridge by honing their skills in secret. Battles are fought with creative strategies. I really liked the look of this film, the visual effects were, dare I say it ....... magical!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dead Man Walking

For some reason, I have not seen Dead Man Walking until now. An excellent film that does more than address the death penalty. A young nun becomes the spiritual advisor to a man on death row, who knows her through casual prison correspondence. In the last days of his life, he tries to challenge the system and the law, but the nun gently and humanely impresses the values of respect, faith and staying true to one's self to get him through his last days. This story is based on true events, and is well worth seeing.

Live and Let Die

Continuing my exploration of all that is James Bond, I saw Live and Let Die today. The first film in the franchise with Roger Moore as Bond. What I liked was that he does not mimic Connery. He brought his own style to the character and it works well. In the most controversial of Ian Flemming's Bond adventures, he chases a heroin ring from New York to New Orleans to the tropics. Voodoo and mysticism come to us in the exotic character of Solitaire, played by a 23 year old Jane Seymore. The sinister Mr. Big, Tee Hee, Whisper and Baron Samedi are all out to kill Bond, but the man is not easily disposed of. The stunts and chase scenes are thrilling and creative. One was only noted in the script as "Scene 56, the most terrific boat chase you've ever seen" ... and it is!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Movies for a Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! The mid point of the year, holiday of cookouts, boating and fireworks, and in the movie year, blockbuster heaven. With the furious release of the summer blockbusters, there's a little breathing room this week to catch up. There's something for everyone.

For adventure: Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean:At World's End, Oceans Thirteen

For the family: Shrek the Third, Surf's Up, Ratatouille

For thrills: 1408, Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard

For laughs: Knocked Up, Evan Almighty

For drama: A Mighty Heart, Evening, Once