Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 My Year in Film

With about 260 films viewed this year, it was a good year in film for me. I'm not ready to share my Favorites of 2008 yet (still have a few films to see), but I had some notable film experiences this year.

About half my film consumption is in DVD. Notable this year were films I've either never seen, or haven't seen in a long time. Fun viewing with A Night at the Roxbury , Porky's, A Christmas Story, Soapdish and Adventures in Babysitting. In the classics category there was The Philadelphia Story, Captains Courageous and The Women.

I had my share of fun with film at the theater as well. Seeing Sex and the City on the night of the New York premiere, with my friends from 92 ProFM, gave me a chance to take my red high heels to the movies. Seeing Baby Mama (again, courtesy of ProFM, thanks Kim), BEFORE the New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, was pretty cool. Seeing the Young @ Heart Chorus perform, after seeing the film, was exhilarating and inspiring. Hearing Philippe Petit speak, after the film Man on Wire, was a treat. Seeing my friend Heath's film, He's My Dad, at the Big Apple Film Festival was heartening. Seeing Cloverfield in NYC, the weekend it opened, was intense. Seeing U2 3D, in a theater full of enthusiastic U2 fans, just rocked. Seeing 27 Dresses, sitting behind all the extras, was a blast.

Thanks to all who join me in the theater or at film festival. To those who put up with that odd (or old) DVD I may bring to your house, and ask you to watch with me, thanks too.
Happy New Year and bring on the films of 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

American Teen

Every disappointment, insecurity, accomplishment and joy of being a teenager, are exposed in the documentary American Teen. This film is about a group of high school students pondering the future, life, family and dreams. The film is well structured, honest and poignant. Watch the DVD extras to get extra insight to making the film and the students' lives after the film. Interesting stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday DVD Release

With the holidays, the DVD releases are all over the place. Here's a list of the holiday releases. Click on the titles for more:

The Duchess
Eagle Eye
Burn After Reading
Savage Grace
American Teen
Hamlet 2


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Valkyrie is a Hollywood version of one of the many assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler. Well acted, skilfully filmed, but since we know the outcome, they couldn't create any sense of urgency or suspense for me. Might be because I don't have a lot of sympathy for Nazis. I tried to like this film, but it was just mediocre for me.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


At the end of the film Milk, the audience applauded. Was it in appreciation of the fine style of film making? Was it for the outstanding acting? Was it for the bravery and passion of Harvey Milk for gay rights? (all human rights for that matter) I hope it was all of the above, it sure was for me.

PS (If you liked Milk, or as homework before you see Milk, see the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. Such an interesting man.)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Powerhouse acting performances are the centerpiece of Doubt. A priest is suspected of inappropriate behavior toward one of the boys at a catholic school. The fierce principal and a meek, optimistic young teacher are the accusers. In the polite fashion of the early 60s, much is unsaid in conversations and confrontations. This film left me with a degree of doubt. A screenplay and performances that were so strong and intriguing, that I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

For as many wonderful things I was reading about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I was dreading the 2 hour 59 minute run time. I have a lot of movies to see this weekend! Because the strengths of the film are the cinematography, the story telling, the makeup and the acting, I will forgive this. The slow build in the first half of the film is necessary, but it dragged a bit for me. Then the pace picks up, the story becomes more interesting and I became very glad I was in the theater. The story of a man who ages backward comes from the imagination of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and adapts well to this film. A wonderful love story. I know folks who, sarcastically, call Brad Pitt "Mr. Perfect" so I had a good chuckle when his character enters a room, and his lady love says, "you're perfect". Well done.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! : ) That's all ......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday Flick Picks - Christmas Edition 2008

The multiplex will be awash with new movies this weekend, and I am planning three days of movie bliss. Oscar contenders galore, here's what's landing in RI theaters on Christmas Day. Bedtime Stories, Valkyrie, Marley and Me, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, The Spirit and The Reader. Slumdog Millionaire moves to more theaters (see it) and Milk is on my list for the weekend as well. Yes Man, Seven Pounds and Bolt remain in theaters. It's a great weekend for movie lovers.

Have a happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and any other holiday you may observe. A wonderful time of the year for celebrations and film. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The House Bunny

The House Bunny is a cute comedy about an orphan who is taken into the Playboy mansion - until she turns 27 (59 in Bunny years). She gets the heave-ho and needs to look for a place to live. She ends up at the local community college, and gets a job as house mother at a sorority house full of losers. They are about to lose their charter and she uses her "bunny knowledge" to save the day. Nice performances and a good redemption story. Light and well done, a fun rental.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


One of my favorite Christmas movies is Elf. It was on TV, and after a day of holiday parties it was a nice way to end the day. Unfortunately, the network cut some of the scenes for time, that was unfortunate. Still, the joy and creative humor of the story shone through. The story of a misplaced human baby, raised as an elf at the North Pole, is funny, sweet and heartwarming. I've heard that Elf was the reason Jon Favreau was asked to direct Iron Man, nice call! A nice holiday treat.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 12/19/08

A foot of snow here in RI, and various Christmas activities will limit my cinema experience this weekend, but there are some nice additions to RI theaters this week. Slumdog Millionare is in art houses. I hope it moves to more theaters in the coming weeks, loved it. I'm looking forward to seeing Milk as well. At the multiplex we have Seven Pounds, Yes Man, Nothing Like the Holidays, Cadillac Records, Four Christmases, Australia, Quantum Solace and The Day the Earth Stood Still. For the kids there's Bolt, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and The Tale of Despereaux. The movies, a great place if you need a break from the holiday rush. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire ... again

I first saw Slumdog Millionaire back in November, at the Angelika Film Center in NYC, on a weekday afternoon. There were probably 20 people in the theater. I loved the film. Tonight I was invited to the Fox Searchlight Sneak Peak in RI. The small theater was packed. About 10 minutes in, I realized what was missing in my first viewing, audience reaction. The laughter, the gasps, the reactions were all great, and made the second viewing even better than the first. One of my favorites this year so far, thanks Fox Searchlight!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bones and Babes In DVD This Week

I loved the first two Mummy movies. When the third installment came out, the reviews were so mixed I couldn't bring myself to shell out movie theater cash to see it. Today it arrives in DVD and my copy will be in my hands tonight. Mama Mia! has had a fantastic run in theaters and will be a fun rental for folks who like romance and musicals. A super chick flick, The Women, hits DVD today along with The Traitor. In an odd, end of the week release, The House Bunny is out in DVD on the 19th. Another one I couldn't get to in the theater, but am anxious to see. The documentary American Teen comes out on the 21st (huh?). A film festival darling, a look inside the lives of kids in high school. Lots to see this week, enjoy.

Great Holiday Film Scenes

Over at the LAMB, Fletch posted a blog-a-thon question "what is your favorite scene in a holiday film?" A fun challenge for me, as so many films take place during the holidays. I was stumped when I first read this, as so many great scenes flashed through my mind. This weekend I watched Gremlins and my decision was made. The scene when there gremlins are watching the film Snow White is absolutely hilarious. Raucous and obnoxious, violent and festive. It's a bit twisted, but I had a good laugh and felt like eating a candy cane when all was said and done. No it's not heart warming, but all the aspects of the holiday, joy, candy, song, tinsel, funny hats and unbridled celebration, burst through in this scene. Love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


To reward myself for a great morning of Christmas shopping, I treated myself to the enchanting film Happy-Go-Lucky. Poppy is an elementary school teacher with a vibrant spirit and a lovely life. It is not without flaws, it is real. She encounters a miserable soul, who is her driving instructor. In one of the most passionate scenes I've seen in a long time, he explodes in an articulate rant that encapsulates his feelings and the essence of Poppy. Poppy's response is appropriate and mature. A good film about life, love, friendship, family and living. I liked this one.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 12/12/08

With the most highly anticipated films of the year in limited release, it's slim pickin's for new releases in RI theaters. I have high hope for Nothing Like the Holidays, but The Day the Earth Stood Still holds no allure for me, so I'll probably get my Christmas shopping done this weekend. Quantum of Solace, Australia, Four Christmases, Changeling, Twilight, Bolt and Role Models are all in local theaters. I'm going to try to catch Happy-Go-Lucky after I hit the mall. HoHoHo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Man On Wire

The opening night film for the Newport Film Festival 2008 was Man On Wire. I was there, and could not bring myself to go into the theater. Even knowing the outcome, I could not sit in the dark and watch Philippe Petit balance across a high wire, strung between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Scares the crap out of me. I'm happy to say that I did go into the theater for the final moments of the film and enjoyed a lively Q&A conducted by Petit. What a wonderful speaker.

I decided to see the film when it came to DVD, with the luxury of turning it off if I couldn't take it. My fears were unfounded, I was rewarded with a documentary with a dramatic structure, great archive footage and wonderful reconstruction interviews. This is a true story of passion, creativity, camaraderie, adventure, dreams, risk and determination. In the end, the crew was arrested, the details of the complaint .... "man on wire". See it!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I wish I could remember who recommended the film Crimewave. Whoever you are, THANK YOU! Written by the Coen brothers, directed by Sam Rami, this is a wacky whodunit, told in flashback style, from the electric chair. A fun ride if you like a creative crime flick.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Whos, Whats and Whys in DVD

This is a great week for DVD releases. Horton Hears a Who! is a wonderful adaptation of the Dr. Seuss tale of commitment and friendship, no matter how small. What drives a lot of us to watch a movie is heroes, and The Dark Knight delivers on that front. From Batman to Harvey Dent to Commissioner Gordon, this is a film that addresses what we all look for in a good hero. In my DVD que is the documentary Man on Wire. Why would anyone step out on a high wire suspended between the twin towers in NYC? The answer to this question may surprise you. Check out one of the best documentaries out this year. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York is a creative, crazy ride through the story-telling mind of Charlie Kaufman. A creative, play write, hypochondriac deals with his work, wife, daughter and lovers. Performers in his current work deal with reality, reality deals with the performers. The plot is a work in progress, the work is the plot. The performances are outstanding, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Samantha Morton are brilliant. Give yourself a few viewings of this one, I'd like to see it again.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Let the Right One In

The week the teen drama Twilight was released, I listened to a podcast (thanks Cort and Fatboy) in which Mike Russell recommended "the other vampire movie". When he started talking about a Swedish vampire movie, I was reminded of when he recommended a Korean monster movie. I snickered, I scoffed, but I followed his direction. I was not disappointed when I saw The Host, and I'm not disappointed after seeing Let the Right One In. Well structured, creepy, eerie and touching, this is one of the better films I've seen this year. Thanks Mike, Cort and Fatboy!

A Christmas Story

In an effort to shorten my "never saw that" movie list, I rented A Christmas Story. Fueled with a fascination for the fact that Peter Billingsley and Vince Vaughn are best friends, and a curiosity for the frequent reaction of, "oh I LOVE that movie", I popped the popcorn and settled in with this Christmas classic. I was rewarded with a refreshing, snarky take on an old theme, "what I want for Christmas". Portrayals of the family, teachers, bullies and an unflattering snapshot of Santa made for a satisfying holiday film. The acting is top notch, Billingsly gives a wonderful performance at such a young age. I can see how folks can watch this film time and again, glad I finally saw it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 12/5/08

It's a quiet weekend for new releases here in RI theaters. Cadillac Records is in one theater (?!?!) and Let the Right One In is here. Role Models, Quantum of Solace, Australia and Four Christmases are all worth a look. The National Board of Review has bestowed awards on Rachel Getting Married, and the Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas, also in RI theaters. The kids still have Madagascar 2, and for the tweens it's High School Musical 3 and Twilight. A special treat for anyone who missed out this summer, The Dark Knight is playing at the Patriot Cinemas ..... enjoy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

To Die For

One of Gus Van Sant's early films is a black comedy called To Die For. The story of an ambitious woman who orchestrates her husband's death is dark, sarcastic and pretty damn clever.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Times of Harvey Milk

In anticipation of the film Milk, it was recommended to me to see the Oscar winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (1984). This documentary chronicles the life of Harvey Milk, through the eyes of his friends and colleagues. A man who not only stood up for his own rights, but others as well. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office. Milk helped many in his public and private life. A life well lived and much too short. Good film.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


In Priceless, a woman who makes a living at cons, meets a poor man, falls in love, and brings him to her game. In the end, love wins. Audrey Tatou is sparkling and enchanting. A charming French film.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Magic, Morons and Murder in DVD

In DVD releases this week, I've seen The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian. A strong addition to the franchise of fantasy tales. In Wanted, a group of assassins recruit a new member to accomplish what they cannot. Very violent. On a lighter note, Step Brothers is a goofy comedy about blending families and the agony of men who won't grow up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I liked Australia more than I thought I would. Performances are strong, the art direction and cinematography are top notch and the costumes are impressive. This is a gorgeous film. The story rambles, there is flimsy connection between scenes, but you still want to know what happens as the story unfolds. This movie is much too long, but it wasn't a bad way to spend a rainy, Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Four Christmases

After a nice lunch, we decided the movie of choice would be Four Christmases. We were looking for something light, and it's tough to resist Vince Vaughn. This is the story of two selfish adults, who avoid their families at Christmas every year by lying about their commitments. One year, they get caught in the lie and have no excuse not to make the visits. Both have divorced parents, so there are four homes to visit. The visits to the first three homes are pretty funny. Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play well off each other. At the fourth house the film takes a serious turn, which is fine, but it lasted a little too long for me. I liked the ending, the story comes full circle. A decent comedy with a strong cast.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 11/28/08

On Black Friday, I cannot imagine going shopping. However, I will see a movie today. New in RI theaters there's the new epic Australia and the comedy Four Christmases. Other good choices are Role Models, Quantum of Solace, Changeling, High School Musical 3, Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa, Bolt, Happy Go Lucky and Synecdoche, NY. This should be enough to keep folks out of the malls, enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions:Pieces of April

In November of 2003, I saw the charming film Pieces of April at the Columbus Theater in Providence, RI. The tale of the black sheep of the family, hosting her estranged family for Thanksgiving dinner, has been a favorite of mine ever since. Each member of the family has their issues and quirks. The story bounces back and forth between April's novice attempt at making a turkey dinner, and her family's road trip into New York City from New Jersey. Funny, endearing, edgy and heartfelt. It seems like a Thanksgiving tradition for me to talk about it, recommend it, write about it this time of year. Many people have received this film from me as a gift. A wonderful film. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Encounters at the End of the World

Werner Herzog takes his cameras to Antarctica to make "more than a movie about penguins". In Encounters at the End of the World, his hypnotic film style and delving interviews, of the few people who work there, make for a compelling documentary. This film will look great on a wide screen TV. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Christmas Tale

Family gatherings at the holidays is a popular theme for film. The French film, A Christmas Tale, tells the story of a large family with tons of baggage. They are brought together for Christmas, by the ailing matriarch. The relationships play out in an interesting fashion. A good French film with strong performances.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Siblings and Super Heroes in DVD

I liked the movie Fred Claus. Out in theaters last Christmas, the story of Santa's brother, Fred, is kinda cute. Not earth shattering cinema, but a comedy I enjoyed. Hancock will be an off the hook rental. A solid action film with heart and a cool twist that I really enjoyed. Happy renting!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BAFF 2008 : He's My Dad

Heath and Marley Mensher, costars of He's My Dad.

On the final night of the 5th Annual Big Apple Film Festival, I had the pleasure of seeing Program 18. A collection of 6 short films, one of which was He's My Dad. Heath and Mark Mensher's thirty minute film about a serial killer who's been rehabilitated, and meets the daughter he fathered before he was institutionalized. A sweet film with a quirky tone. The production value is good. I had seen this film in DVD, and it looks great on a big screen. I especially like the song at the end. Congrats to Mark and Heath for being chosen for the festival. They had lots of friends and family there to support them. A fun night!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 11/21/08

Those crazy tweens will be packing the multiplex this weekend as the "highly anticipated" Twilight hits theaters. Romance and vampires from the popular book series arrives on the big screen. There's also High School Musical 3, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Bolt for young movie goers. For adults in theaters, there's Changeling, Zach & Miri Make a Porno, Quantum of Solace, Rachel Getting Married and Role Models. Two interesting independent films are new to RI theaters, Synecdoche NY and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

And me? I'll be at the Big Apple Film Festival in support of the Menscher brothers' film "He's My Dad", good stuff!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Ever since Toronto Film Festival, the Internet has been awash with promos and reviews about the limited release of Slumdog Millionaire. It opened in five cities on November 12th. I received passes for an advanced screening here, in RI, but they are dated December 17th *sigh*. The price I pay for living in a small film market. I had planned to visit my daughter in New Jersey on Wednesday, with a movie matinee before I descended upon she and her family. I was going to see something in the suburbs, but a call from a friend in Chicago, on Monday, raving about the film, had me re-routing my travel through NYC to catch a matinee at the Angelika Film Center. Glad I did.

Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young man, who grows up in the slums of Mumbai, India. His troubled life gave him all the education he needed to be successful on a poplar, local game show. Beautiful, lyrical, brutal and honest, this is a story of perseverance, survival, loyalty and love. Stay for the credits, a true celebration of spirit. Wonderful film.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alphabet Soup

This time of year we see a lot of lists. Over at Blog Cabins the challenge went up to movie bloggers to list their favorite films that start with each letter of the alphabet. This was a fun exercise, my largest challenge was X. Check here to see the lists. Impressive how many folks did this. Here's my list:

Angels in America
Benny & Joon
Dark Knight
Eternal Sunshine of a Sleepless Mind
Fight Club
In Her Shoes
Little Miss Sunshine
Nine Queens
Pulp Fiction
Shawshank Redemption
Taxi Driver
Usual Suspects
Young at Heart

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wandering, Writer, War, Werner and Wall-e in DVD

I've seen quite a few of the films released to DVD this week. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 chronicles the summer after their freshman year in college, for the four friends that share a magical pair of jeans. A nice adaptation of the popular books. In Tropic Thunder, the making of a film about war, is a wild ride with some excellent performances and camera work. Gonzo:The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is a documentary about the journalist, his politics and his writing. A must-see for any Thompson fan. After two viewings in the theater, the animated gem Wall-e will find it's way into my DVD collection. Heartfelt and creative, I love this film. In my DVD que is Werner Herzog's documentary Encounters at the End of the World. Herzog's films are so beautiful, looking forward to this one. I've also got the film Priceless on the way. A French film about mistaken identity, staring the charming Aurdrey Tautou. Finally, Up the Yangtze is in my rental que as well. Another documentary set in an exotic locale. What a week for DVD releases *whew*!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Four Years, 1028 Posts

No, this is not a movie title, it's the four year anniversary of this blog ! I started writing here when Melanie and Joe were engaged. They had a wedding blog, I was intrigued with the concept. At first I thought I'd blog random thoughts, thus the motherofthebride url. Melanie suggested that I write about something I was passionate about .... movies. Is This Seat Taken? was born.

As an avid movie lover, I had been keeping a paper journal of the films I'd seen. The blog was a better place for these thoughts, because here, they can be shared. I'm often asked about what's in theaters, because I see a lot of movies. It's not like I have any great knowledge when it comes to film, but I'm always happy to share why I liked a film. I know I have benefited from the advice of people who's taste in film is similar to mine. If I can share my thoughts with others, and help people decide what to see, that's a nice thing.

This blog is also a place I like to share stories of things that happen to me in the theater. There's always that odd, funny encounter that makes a good story. Over the years I've had fun posting my film festival adventures, stories of film folks I've met and things that happen to me when I go to the movies.

I have readers (that I know about) in New York, Texas, North Dakota, Canada, the UK, Arizona, Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina and right here in lil' ol' Rhode Island. Love getting comments! So, thanks for reading here, and I'll keep posting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace

The latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, is a solid action flick. A nice addition to the franchise. The story is all about revenge. Bond is focused on his line of vengeance, denying it all the way ..... much to M's dismay. The chase scenes are crazy and frenetic. Broken glass flies constantly. A couple of the chase scenes are punctuated with parallel action scenes, pretty cool technique.

I found these details interesting:
The martini recipe is shared by a bartender.
The Aston Martin meets an ugly demise, made me sad.
The SUV Bond drives later in the film, sounds like an Aston Martin, hmmm.
Tom Ford designed Bond's suits, nice job.
Communication technology is very cool, almost futuristic.

A fun Bond ride!

Note: The Star Trek trailer was shown in the previews. Looks awesome!

Thankful for Barden's Casting

Over at LAMB, they're asking what movie folks, outside of actors and directors, we're thankful for. Through my volunteering at film festival, I've been fortunate to meet my share of film folks.

Years ago, I met the casting director Kerry Barden. At the time, we chatted weather and travel, he's very handsome. Yes, I was flirting. I was a volunteer, we never met again. (The event was a discussion panel about independent film, for the Newport Intl. Film Festival.) Until the panel began, I did not know his credentials, it's an impressive list. Ever since this encounter, I get a kick out of picking a movie, then seeing his name in the credits. I usually like the casts he and his team assemble. When we premiered Evening in Newport, last year, it was cool to see Barden's name on the casting credit. Now that was an amazing cast! A nice guy with quite a career. Look forward to his future projects.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 11/14/08

Quantum of Solace is the big opener this weekend. James Bond brings a tale of revenge and espionage to the big screen. My favorites in theaters right now are Role Models, Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Changeling, Rachel Getting Married and The Secret Life of Bees. Also worth a look, Body of Lies, Fireproof and W. The kids are eating up High School Musical 3 and Madagascar Escape 2 Africa. There's a sneak preview of the animated film Bolt (in 3D) on Saturday night. This weekend, my martini will be shaken, not stirred, I'll be at the movies!


A train trip, from China to Moscow, turns ugly in the film Transsiberian. An American couple meets mysterious people on the journey. When deceit, drug smuggling, murder and violence enter the equation, it becomes a pretty wild ride. A tense thriller I enjoyed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paranoid Park

The poetic camera work of Gus Van Sant is the power behind the emotion of Paranoid Park. The story of a skater who is part of a horrible accident, is a bit fragmented around the themes of teen angst and a broken family. The hypnotic scenes of the skate boarders in slow motion (beautiful) and a shower scene (no nudity) are both beautiful and emotional. This is a nice addition to Van Sant's resume.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rachel Getting Married

A damaged family comes together for the wedding of the oldest daughter, in Rachel Getting Married. Rachel's sister, Kym, has been in rehab for the last 9 months, her parents are divorced and a family tragedy from the past is still a very open wound. There is a scene early in the film that choked me up, and I wasn't sure why. There was no dialogue. The "why" was revealed in a scene about 30 minutes later. I marveled at how the perfect emotions were created in the first scene through the acting and camera work. Now that's skill. The film runs a little long, but the emotional highs and lows of the character's baggage, conflicting with the joy of a wedding, makes for a wonderful story with very real sentiments. I think we may see a few nominations for this film come award season. Well written, well acted, well done.

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda came out this summer. With travel and a bunch of good summer releases, I didn't get to see it in the theater. When there was a strange Saturday release of the DVD, I was first in line. The animation is beautiful, the story familiar. (The battle scenes may be a bit intense for little ones, hence the PG rating) Abstract philosophy is touched on, then becomes a goof. Fun stuff. A nice addition to the animation collection. Seriously, how do you spell hiiiiiyaaaa ?!?!?! I worry about these things.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DVD Binge

Since there is nothing for me to comment on in newly released DVD this week, I thought I'd share my recent DVD purchases. This week, I received an e-mail from Netflix saying that as of Nov 3oth they will no longer sell previously viewed DVDs. They have great prices, good selection and pristine DVDs. I snapped up 9 titles. Some for me, some will be gifts. My point here is, if you want gently used DVDs at great prices, check it out .... Here's what I bought:

There Will be Blood - mine
The Kite Runner - gift
Wordplay - gift
Shine a Light - mine
Atonement - mine
The Host - gift
Lonely Hearts - mine
Once - mine
Volver - gift

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Though I liked Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, my favorite Guy Ritchie film is Snatch. I went to see RocknRollla today, hoping for some of the same. It is an OK British crime thriller. There's a lot of the signature Ritchie film technique that I really like, but the story and the characters didn't grab me. Glad I saw it, but I've rented Snatch to remind me why I go to Guy Ritchie films.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Role Models

Role Models is a solid comedy. Two men take on a "big brother" assignment, as a plea bargain, to avoid going to jail. Foul language abounds, but it is appropriate and serves well as a comedic vehicle. This is a story of friendship, redemption, family and identity. The characters are well developed and consistent. I'm surprised at how much I liked this movie. The trailers do not do it justice. Good solid performances, a strong script and many laugh-out-loud moments for me. (not for the prissy) Well done.

Zach and Miri Make a Porno

For all the raunchy language, nudity and sex, at the heart of Zach and Miri Make a Porno, there is a very sweet love story. Love and friendship conquer all in this risque comedy. Notable performances by Justin Long and Jason Mewes are disgusting, ribald and hilarious. Though Kevin Smith goes a little too far with the gross stuff a few times, this script is very clever and has many very funny moments. Stay for a very funny bit during the credits.


Changeling is a film based on the true story of what happened to Christine Collins after the disappearance of her son in Los Angeles in the late twenties. Dramatic and disturbing, this story centers on the corruption of the LAPD, a mother who will not give up the search for her son and a serial killer who is played with crass bravado. Worth a look, the performances, costumes and music work so well.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 11/7/08

It's been a few weeks since I've been to the movie theater, so I've got a little catching up to do. Zach and Miri Make a Porno, RocknRolla and The Changeling are on my short list. New to RI theaters, Rachel Getting Married and Role Models interest me as well. I'm off from work on Tuesday for Veterans Day, so I may get to see all of these. The Patriot Cinema has an awesome selection this week. City of Ember, The Express, Ghost Town, House Bunny, Wall-e, Tropic Thunder and Flash of Genius are playing there. Hey, for $1.99 you can't go wrong. (This lineup will make a great rental list) Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa and High School Musical 3: Senior Year are in theaters for the kids. The Secret Life of Bees, Body of Lies, The Duchess and W. are worth a look as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Twilight and Election Results

To kill time before the election results came in last night, I rented the movie Twilight. Great cast, not so great movie. By the time I flipped the news back on, Obama was in the lead, but by 10 PM I was so nervous about the results, I went to bed. I'd had it with the phrase, "anything can happen". I did get a chuckle out of Brian Williams noting that he had left the lights on in his office, when they showed a long shot of Rockefeller Center. When I woke up this morning, I immediately opened the NY Times online, and the huge letters on my screen read OBAMA ... what a relief! I am hopeful for this new administration, this country sure needs it. Hope the Obama kids get their puppy soon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Spys and Smugglers in DVD

Get Smart is out in DVD this week. A fun action comedy with good performances, should be a satisfying rental. In my DVD que is Transsiberian, a thriller set in the world of drug smuggling. It's in the mail to me as I type!

And MOST important today, GET OUT AND VOTE !!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/31/08

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is back in theaters for Halloween. So cute! This weekend we have the Changeling, Zach and Miri Make a Porno, RocknRolla and What Just Happened? arriving in RI theaters. All four are on my list for the weekend. Morning Light is still playing at the Opera House in Newport, well worth a look. Eagle Eye, Body of Lies, The Secret Life of Bees, W., The Duchess and High School Musical 3 round out a movie lineup that is chock full this week. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LAMB #200 Is This Seat Taken?

I'm not much of a joiner. Exhibit #1 is the awesome website LAMB (The Large Association of Movie Blogs). I have stalked this site from it's birth, and regularly add its members to my Google Reader list. I've watched, read and commented for the last year. I was invited to join a few times in comments, and when I finally caved, I got to be #200. Sweet deal! I write my blog as a journal of my film consumption. I've had the benefit of meeting interesting people and learning a lot along the way, LAMB just adds to the mix. Film is such a wonderful hobby for me, happy to have folks reading here.

Morning Light

I have been around sailboats my whole life. Growing up in "the ocean state", learning to sail was mandatory in my family. I saw it as a pleasant past time, and dipped my toe in the racing world a little when I was young. As an adult, I had the privilege of crewing on an Etchells (one-design race boat) in Newport for about 5 seasons. I learned a lot about the world of competitive sailboat racing. There were lessons from our races, and lessons from the conversations at cocktail parties. I met some very interesting people, and heard a lot of great stories.

When I first heard of the film Morning Light, I was impressed that Disney would choose this sport for the subject of a feature film. Then I learned of Roy Disney's love of sailing, and experience with ocean racing, and it all made sense. Disney recruited 15 young people to sail the 52 foot, high performance, ocean racer (TP52), Morning Light, in the TRANSPAC. He's done it himself. It's a sailboat race from Los Angeles, CA to Diamond Head, Hawaii. Yeah, that's 2500 miles (it takes 6-10 days, depends on the wind). For the non-sailor, Morning Light is a human drama. People who revel in the accomplishments of bright, young people will enjoy this. For those in the sailing world, this is a racing drama. Go north? Go south? Where's the wind? Where's the competition? They had some pretty cool technology. I liked all the training they went through before the race. This film is worth a look.

Stay through the credits, a few of the guys on the team are also musicians. They wrote and performed the closing song. BTW many of the team members have RI connections. Remember, it's the "ocean state".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Women (1939)

I cannot bring myself to see the current film adaptation of The Women. A bunch of women nattering over their love lives, successful or failed, sends me out of the room. But I'm curious, so I rented the 1939 version of the film (newly released to DVD), to check out the story. The play enjoyed 666 performances on Broadway. Set in the late 30s, when divorce was handled on a trip to Reno, and high society women were expected to "suck it up" when their husbands strayed, it becomes a bit of a caricature for the contemporary viewer. Add the high fashion element, and we have an interesting film. Warning: the run time of 2 hours 12 minutes makes this a little bit of a project to watch, but it's worth it.
Fun facts:
The film has a large, all female cast (even the animals). Men are spoken of, but never seen.
There is a fashion show in the middle of the film that is in color, the rest of the film is in black and white.
The sets are fun to look at, especially Crystal's bathroom. (a glass tub)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cons in DVD

Kit Kittredge:An American Girl is a solid family movie out in DVD this week. I liked the story and the acting in this one, not just for the kids. The film Death Defying Acts is in my rental que. An affair of Harry Houdini's is dramatized in this film. Con artists bring the action in both films. Check it out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

50 Favorites

Over at Blog Cabins, the challenge went up to folks to blog their 50 favorite films. As Fletch states, " favorite films, not necessarily the best of all time". For years, I have kept a list of my favorites, so I'm going to grab 50 from that list (I think it's approaching 100). The top 10 are the only ones I keep in order of favor, the rest look semi-chronological. A fun exercise, try it.

Pulp Fiction
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Mary Poppins
Fight Club
Monsters, Inc.
Little Miss Sunshine

Lost in Translation
From Dusk till Dawn
Benny & Joon
Million Dollar Baby
Shawshank Redemption
My Cousin Vinny
Angels In America
Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Godfather Part 2

Life is Beautiful
The Last Waltz
Pieces of April
The Red Violin
American History X
The Usual Suspects

Nine Queens
Groundhog Day
The Hours
Rivers and Tides
All That Jazz
Wedding Crashers

A Scanner Darkly
The Departed
The Host
The Dark Knight

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/24/08

Hold on to your hats kids, High School Musical 3: Senior Year arrives in theaters this weekend! The fans go nutty for this franchise. Another popular franchise, at the opposite end of the spectrum, releases Saw V. Needless to say, the multiplexes will be crawling with kids this weekend! Also worth seeing, there's Pride & Glory, Body of Lies, W., The Duchess and Eagle Eye. On a lighter note The Secret Life of Bees, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Morning Light are still in RI theaters. Fireproof arrives this weekend as well. Something for everyone, happy viewing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Next stop on my quest for satisfying political film fare, is Oliver Stone's Nixon. I was in Washington, DC, on a girl scout field trip, while the Watergate hearings were being held. The mood in town was sober and tight lipped. A tough time for American politics. The film, Nixon, is an interesting interpretation of the political rise and fall of Richard Nixon. The performances are wonderful. Dramatic and true to the tone of the events. Stone edits dramatization with newsreel footage for a dramatic, historical effect. I liked this film a lot. In a way, inspiring (watch the credits). As an aside, check out the film Dick, for a lighter (but pretty accurate) depiction of this time in history.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After seeing W. I felt a hankerin' for more satistfying Oliver Stone, political fare. I stopped on the way home, and rented JFK and Nixon. With a running time of 205 minutes, JFK felt the most daunting to sit through. I started the film Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, I had experienced an intense crime drama with political conspiracy undertones. The victim, John F. Kennedy. The crime, his assassination. The criminal, Clay Shaw, the only person ever (unsuccessfully) prosecuted for the murder of our 35th president. Fascinating speculation and evidence. A huge, all-star cast makes the film all the more interesting (lots of TV actors) and Kevin Costner, as New Orleans DA , Jim Garrison, is riveting. Took me a while, but I'm glad to have finally seen this one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Invasions and Incredible in DVD

Buckle up folks, The Incredible Hulk is out in DVD this week! A fun action ride with a decent story, I liked this one. In my DVD que, a home invasion and senseless terror come to the screen in The Strangers. Sounds like a rip off of Funny Games.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I've been mildly amused by the confusion surrounding the pronunciation of the new Oliver Stone film W. Some pronounce it "dub-el-yew" and are corrected, or correct themselves, to say "dub-ya". To me, that's the most entertaining thing about this film. Ever since this project was announced, I can't think of any other political figure I find less interesting. The redeeming quality of the film are the performances. The actors bring their A-games, Josh Brolin disappears inside the character of George W. Bush. I found the events depicted in W. to be disturbing, and a dark piece of American history. Politics is a complicated subject. The activities and decisions behind the scenes are not always what we want to hear. This film had me shaking my head.


The film Deception is your typical bait and switch crime drama. Sex, money and lies drive the plot. The ending was a little more clever than I expected. A decent rental.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

Strong women are the centerpiece of the film The Secret Life of Bees. Based on the popular novel, a young girl from a turbulent, unusual childhood, searches for the truth about her deceased mother. Within that truth, lies her self-worth. On the advent of the Civil Rights Act, in 1964, this story takes place in a south that tosses the "n word" and women around, both physically and emotionally. The girl seeks refuge from her life, in the home of three sisters with an interesting history, level heads and a lot of love. Being with these women, her life mysteries are solved. A very nice story. I thought the performances were excellent. ** Program note - bring Kleenex.

The Duchess

I went to see The Duchess based on the expectation of an Oscar nomination for the costumes. I did not expect to see an emotionally wrenching story. The Duchess of Devonshire was a British woman who followed the rules of British aristocracy, but really wanted to follow her heart. The love of a mother for her children, rules her decisions. The pace of the film is a bit slow, but the story is well worth telling.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

I heard Morgan Spurlock in an interview on my favorite morning radio show a few months ago. Smart, funny, energetic, this film maker dives into his topics. This is the guy who ate only McDonald's food for 30 days *yikes* In the film, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, he travels the Middle East looking for Osama Bin Laden, no kidding. To prepare for his trek, Spurlock underwent training and education in personal defense and Middle East customs. He travels from country to country asking folks on the street if they know where Bin Laden is. They speculate on which country he is in, and many just point to the mountains. An interesting exercise.

Friday Flick Picks 10/17/08

In RI theaters this week, we've got W. A Hollywood treatment of the early and present life of George W. Bush. Reviews are mixed. Morning Light, Max Payne, Sex Drive, Frozen River and The Secret Lives of Bees open here as well. Body of Lies, Nick & Norah's Infinite Play List and that crazy Beverly Hills Chihuahua are grabbing most of the box office dollars. When I look at the list of films in theaters, I notice most all have gotten mixed reviews. Makes it a little tougher to plunk down the movie dollar, but we know I will. Morning Light, The Duchess, Frozen River and The Secret Lives of Bees will probably get my cash this weekend. Don't forget about City of Ember, Eagle Eye and The Express ..... whew! There's a lot out there, enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indy, Inc, Intense and Icon in DVD

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes out in DVD this week. A fun addition to the franchise, worth a look. I saw the futuristic, wacky, political satire, War, Inc. at Tribeca Film Festival this year. A crazy ride, only for those with a taste for strong satire. 4 months, 3 weeks,2 days is a thoughtful, depressing drama, well written and acted. The subject is unwanted pregnancy and abortion, intense and sad. Mongol is a beautiful film that recreates the early life of Genghis Khan. A foreign film I enjoyed with both my parents, and had fun discussing with my daughter. An interesting week for DVD releases.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Know Where I'm Going

I appreciate a good film recommendation, from a dependable source. In the case of I Know Where I'm Going!, the source was David Letterman. In an interview with Tilda Swinton, he brought up the Scottish film. Swinton and their conversation became so animated, I immediately put the film in my rental que. Made in 1945, this charming story of a woman traveling to remote Scotland to marry her dream husband, is derailed by chance, weather and love. A good story, beautiful scenery and men in kilts *sigh*. (I wish I could remember where I learned the song featured in this film) I've always respected Letterman's taste in film, this was a good one. Thanks Dave!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Three Faces of Eve

On the passing of Paul Newman, I realized that I was not very well versed in Joanne Woodward's work. I rented The Three Faces of Eve to see her Oscar-winning performance. Intense and sympathetic, the film tells the true story of a woman who suffered from multiple personalities. A sensitive treatment of a difficult subject. Excellent film.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

I needed a laugh today, so my choice for a Saturday matinee was How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. I was a little disappointed. It was just OK. An aspiring journalist is reduced to the tabloid level of celebrity nonsense. There were all kinds of opportunities for meaty story lines, but they never quite took hold. The performances were fine, but the story was weak. Too bad, it's a decent premise. Might work as a rental.

Taxi to the Dark Side

I have met several Oscar winners over the years, it's always a thrill. In 2007, I met Sloane Klevin, a producer on Taxi to the Dark Side. Who knew that this documentary, from director Alex Gibney, would win the Oscar? Out in DVD, this is an unnerving film about American interrogation tactics in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay since 2002. A taxi driver is detained in Afghanistan, tortured and killed. Well made, this film investigates the circumstances of his death and techniques used on detainees. The details of incarceration in the detainee camps is eye opening. Disturbing stuff.

Body of Lies

Leonardo DiCaprio has become an actor whose work I seek out. Intense, charming and strong, his performances are solid. In Body of Lies, he joins Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe in an adaptation of a novel about the CIA trying to battle terrorists in the middle east. His character, Roger Ferris, works with Jordanian intelligence to flush out the terrorist leader. It is a complicated story, that is difficult to follow at times. The politics and culture are confusing, actions and motivations are not always clear. What is clear, is that Ferris is trying to do the right thing, and he has a lot of opposition, even from his boss. A good political thriller that brings the mess of the situation in the middle east, global politics and intelligence tactics to the screen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/10/08

I was surprised how many movies I marked in the paper this morning. Nine! Appaloosa, Blindness, City of Ember, The Duchess, The Express, Flash of Genius, Ghost Town, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and Miracle at St. Anna. Whew, I've got a lot to do! Also worth a look in theaters are Body of Lies, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. For the kids there's Igor. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Nick & Norah's Infinte Playlist

In Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Nick and Norah are smitten with each other. One night in New York City becomes a flirtations quest. Both are quietly looking for love, both are looking for Where's Fluffy? (a band) and Norah's looking for her drunk friend Caroline. The chemistry between Nick and Norah works, but the most interesting characters are found in the supporting cast. Nick's friends are hilarious, drunk Caroline is pitch perfect in some very funny scenes. There is a running gag with a piece of gum that made me laugh and cringe. This is a gentle teen comedy that is worth your time, this will be a great rental.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Visitor, Virus and VanSant in DVD

In DVD this week, is The Visitor. A good drama that deals with immigration and friendship. In my DVD que are The Happening (a psychological thriller) and Paranoid Park (indie drama).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Eli Joseph born Oct. 1, 2008

I've taken a little break from my movie attendance this weekend, to welcome my first grandson, Eli. Born on Wednesday, October 1st, he is the son of my daughter Melanie and her husband Joe. I live 200 miles away, so I jumped in the car on Wednesday, to visit the happy family.

While they were at the hospital, I hung out with their dog Gonzo. We walked, we played fetch, we snuggled. Gonzo is my buddy.
There were a lot of visitors when Eli, Melanie and Joe got home. Cousins, Sam, Jonah and Adam welcomed the newest addition to the Tuazon family boy band.
Aunt Liza and Uncle Ryan came by to visit too. Liza has declared Eli "the cutest thing in the universe ... ever!" Eli is an exciting addition to our family. Just thought I'd do a little internet bragging, as Grandmas will do! I'll let you know when I take him to his first movie.....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/3/08

I'm in New Jersey this Friday to meet my new Grandson, Eli. Arriving on Wednesday, he has become the center of attention in our family. A lot of new movies arrive in theaters this weekend. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Appaloosa, Blindness and How to Loose Friends & Alienate People. I don't think I'll have time for any of these this week, but I'll be back in the theater soon. Right now I'm staring at the adorable little Eli.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paul Newman 1925-2008

It has taken me a few days to digest the passing of Paul Newman. Though I am a huge fan of his work as an actor, he was so much more. Aside from the acting, sense of humor and philanthropy, two things always come to mind when I think of Paul Newman. First, his marriage to Joanne Woodward. The commitment, the joy, the love *sigh*. Second, his love of race cars. When folks say the name Paul Newman, my mental image is of the man easing his gorgeous frame out of a race car. A life well lived, thanks Paul.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gadgets, Gold and Goof Balls in DVD

It's a good week for DVD releases. First up, Iron Man. The comic book action character brought to the big screen, such a fun ride! The romantic comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, has laughs and heart. In my DVD que, Taxi to the Dark Side. The Oscar winning documentary from Alex Gibney about a taxi driver's wrongful death, the circumstances and investigations. Cool stuff.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


In the film Choke, a man deals with many demons. He's a sex addict, a con artist, a friend, a son. He struggles with the past, he is not always given the best information to work with. Well written, this is a dark comedy with some very interesting characters and a lot of sex.

Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye is an action thriller that gives us crazy chase scenes, cyber intelligence and unnerving government cover ups (there's also a hint of a love story). Two strangers become unwitting accomplices in a race to save the President. Instructions come from a disembodied voice that knows every move they make, and has a plan. The lines between good-guys and bad-guys become a bit blurry. The chase scenes are pretty wild, no car is spared demolition. In the end, brute force overcomes all the electronics and cyber intelligence. For me, this was a fun ride.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rent on Broadway 1996-2008

Through my tears, I marveled at the joy on the faces of the performers singing their hearts out in the final number of the final act of the final performance of Rent at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway (9/7/08). Thankfully, this performance was taped and brought to movie theaters to fans like me. I have seen this rock musical, live, twice. Once in Providence, RI (1998), and once on Broadway (2005). Having sat in the Nederlander Theater, surrounded by the magic that is the musical Rent, I felt called to the local movie theater to see this final performance. I was overwhelmed by the first shots of the stage. For me, Rent is heart. The story, the music and the creator. I am grateful for film, as it is the best way they have preserved the original cast in a feature film, Johnathan Larson's life story in a documentary and now this final Broadway performance. Original cast members joined in the final anthem of that last performance, it was a thrill to see them on that stage again. I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to see this performance. The walk down 41st St. will never be the same.....

Made of Honor

I'm not a big fan of chick flicks, but I like Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan so decided to give Made of Honor a shot. The typical guy-loves-girl, guy-wants-girl, guy-pushes-girl-away, guy-wants-girl-after-someone-else-proposes rom-com, where all the action culminates on the night before the wedding *yawn*. The performances are what kept me going through this one, not a bad rental.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 9/26/08

Openings in theaters this weekend are rather mediocre. Eagle Eye, Nights in Rodanthe, Choke and The Luck Ones are all getting so-so reviews. So, by request, I'm going to recommend a few movies out in DVD that are worth a look.

On the action side, Batman Begins is well worth a look. The back story of Batman is well told. Leatherheads is a fun look at the inception of professional football. George Clooney and John Krasinski are not too hard to take.

In documentary, the movie Young @ Heart is entertaining and inspiring. Murderball, Mad Hot Ballroom and Shut Up and Sing well worth a look too.

Two of the best chick flicks I've seen lately are In Her Shoes and The Devil Wears Prada. Though both will appeal to the ladies, I know a lot of manly men who enjoyed both of these movies.

Independant films I've enjoyed lately are Son of Rambow, Juno and Lars and the Real Girl.

For the kids I always turn to Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Monster House and Ratatouille.

And, as always, my favorite movie, Little Miss Sunshine is always an awesome time.

If you live in the northeast, stay dry, it's going to be a wild, wet weekend. Happy viewing!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Football, Fat and Friends in DVD

Out in DVD this week, we've got a goofy comedy in Leatherheads. The origins of professional football makes for a good story. Uber-chick flick Sex and the City hits the disks, and will most likely fly off the shelves. Well worth a look. Run Fatboy Run is a story with a lot of heart that surprised me earlier this year. In my que is the thriller, Deception. Panned by the critics, I'm still going to give it a look. Happy renting!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Benjamin Wagner ... live!

I'll admit it , I'm a big fan of Benjamin Wagner. Musician, film maker, athlete, writer, husband, son, uncle, friend, media executive, good guy. I've only seen him live once, 2 years ago, late at night, rather tipsy (me, not him). He was playing in NYC today. My friend Randi and I dropped in to Rockwood Music Hall, to catch an hour of Ben Wagner's musical magic. His friends and family filled the room. There was beer, wine, Shirley Temples, sippy cups and strollers. The crowd was all ages, we were ready. Ben and his crew (Chris, Tony, Jamie and Casey) took the stage, and launched into a handful of songs from his new release, The Invention of Everything Else. I was happy to hear these songs live. Then the show shifted gears. You are My Sunshine and this Little Light of Mine rocked the house, along with a bunch of kids that joined in song and dance. I was the lady at the bar, in the back, singing along and enjoying the reverie. It was awesome, nice show Ben!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 9/19/08

Ghost Town arrives in RI theaters this weekend. This film was well received at the Toronto Film Festival. A comedy about a man who has ghosts looking to him for help. The animated film Igor is out for the kids. Lakeview Terrace is a mess, I'd suggest waiting for this one to come to DVD ... even then, meh. Burn After Reading is s wild ride, a dark comedy that's earned an R rating for the violence. The Dark Knight and The House Bunny are still in theaters. Enjoy this last weekend of summer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lakeview Terrace


Lakeview Terrace: swiss cheese plot, poorly written, sloppy editing ...... ugh.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cops, Crooners, Cars and Companions In DVD

One of the best films I've seen this year is out in DVD. Young @ Heart is a documentary that will lift your spirit, break your heart and make you smile. I had the privilege of seeing this musical group perform live, and it is something I'll never forget. Speed Racer will be a fun rental. Every time you see the corporate goon, hit fast forward - enjoy!

I've got 88 Minutes in the mail to continue the Pacino love fest. Snow Angels has had some great reviews, so I hope to have that one in my DVD player soon!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Righteous Kill

I've written about actors that I would watch read the phone book, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are on that list. In Righteous Kill, these men play partners on the NYPD. A serial killer is murdering heinous criminals who are free on technicalities. This is a film where no one is who they appear to be, and the ending has plenty of twists. The strong performances are the highlights of this film. Pacino really shines. The end is dragged out, but this is still a good crime thriller, with two true film legends leading the way. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go watch The Godfather Part II, one of my favorite films featuring Pacino and De Niro.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Burn After Reading

Things that surprised me about Burn After Reading:

How damn funny Brad Pitt can be.

That I noticed the beautiful shots Joel and Ethan Coen set up and execute.

That I had forgotten how much I love the Coen's crazy black humor.

That I had forgotten that John Malkovich is an amazing, intense, funny actor.

The last half hour of this film ... holy crap! Loved it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Fall

In The Fall, a little girl is in a hospital with a broken arm she suffered in a fall. She befriends another patient who keeps her company by telling an epic tale. At first he is using her, then the friendship takes command (after another fall). The imagery of falling runs through the film, and is significant at the very end. The story is a colorful fantasy of beautiful images. Poignant, poetic, melodramatic and sweet. I liked this one.

Friday Flick Picks 9/12/08

Things are looking up in RI theaters this weekend! Burn After Reading looks like a fun ride, I'll be there! The pairing of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Righteous Kill, a cop thriller, is another one I'm looking forward to. I've marked The House Bunny and Transsiberian if I have time this weekend. The Dark Knight is still in theaters and still worth seeing. Wall-e, Tropic Thunder and The Pineapple Express are still in theaters too. Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Babies and Beauty in DVD

The comedy Baby Mama is a fun ride, and should be an off the hook success as a rental. My DVD que holds The Fall. A film I have read is beautiful, as a storyteller helps distract a sick child.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

He's My Dad ... Meet the Film Maker

As a film fan, it's always a thrill to meet a film maker. Yesterday I was at a party, and in walked Heath Mensher. What? You've never heard of Heath Mensher?!? I predict that some day you will. Heath is young film maker I met a few years ago. This year, he made a short film called He's My Dad that is funny, thoughtful, quirky and touching. A thirty minute resume for this creative film maker to take to market. He had a great turn at the Palm Springs Short Film Festival, being one of the film makers interviewed by the local news station. (press ... yay!!) He told me that he's off to the Route 66 Film Festival, with his film as part of the program. He's excited, animated and working on a feature. It's always fun for me to talk to film makers about their work and their projects. A big smile, enthusiastic conversation and his lovely wife accompanied him to the party. Always nice to see Heath, I'm hoping that he gets that feature film made, I'll be first in line for a ticket!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 9/5/08

This is a quiet week for openings in RI theaters. The spectacular Man On Wire arrives in RI theaters, a thrilling documentary that's worth a look. My favorite film in theaters right now is Vicky Cristina Barcelona. For comedy there's Tropic Thunder, The House Bunny and Pineapple Express. Many of the big films of the summer are at the Patriot in East Providence. Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Hancock, Wanted, even The Rocker. Tough to go wrong for $1.99.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


OK, I'll admit it, I'm a little over the top with my Robert Downey, Jr. and Christian Bale attention this summer, but can ya blame a girl?!? Latest up in my DVD que is Soapdish. A comedy from 1991 about the nonsense that is soap operas. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my share of soaps back in the day, and I respect the actors that have made a living in the genre. But you've got to admit, it's all a bit silly. Kill me off, write me out, get a disease, come back to life ... enter the world of daytime TV! Soapdish does a great job combining the show with the actor's real lives. Which has more drama? Only the network executives know for sure..... The all-star cast is highly entertaining, this was a very fun rental.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Goofs and Geeks in DVD

The film, Then She Found Me is out in DVD. I saw this film earlier this year and really enjoyed it. I wouldn't normally mention TV here, but I am so enamored with the sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, I want to mention the release of it's first season to DVD. I giggle just thinking about it!

My DVD que holds the films The Promotion and Reprise. The Promotion is being touted as one of the most overlooked films of the year. Reprise is a foreign drama.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Elegy /el-i-ji/ n a sad poem, especially for someone who has died.

The film Elegy is a well acted, poetic film that mourns the death of callous relationships and a cavalier attitude toward love. A college professor who left his wife and son, thinking he was not cut out for marriage, takes up with students on a regular basis. The film explores two of these relationships. Their intersection, becomes the professor's undoing. He becomes a caring, mature individual, much to his confusion. The performances are excellent, a dramatic piece I enjoyed.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Dark Knight revisited in IMAX

I finally went to see The Dark Knight in IMAX today and was not disappointed. The look and style of the film is so conducive to the huge screen. The scenes that were shot with IMAX cameras were obvious, and gave me that roller coaster feeling in my stomach that was missing in the traditional format. This film holds up well to multiple viewings. I saw things more clearly this round, and I don't seem to be able to get enough of Ledger's performance, truly brilliant. I'd see it again. If you have the chance, I recommend seeing this in IMAX for the full Dark Knight experience. I'm glad I did.

Swing Kids

In my perpetual search for film with Christian Bale, I was turned on to the film Swing Kids. In 1939 Germany, the joy of swing dancing contrasts the ugly face of war. The young seek the dance as a retreat, the Nazis try to control them. The passion of the kids for their art is portrayed well, and rules over all government and politics. Well done.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Favorites of Summer 2008

The Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer season. I usually lobby for people to revel in the last 3 weeks of summer, as this can be the best weather of the year! The summer movie season feels like it's over late in July. I think this was one of the best summer season for movies in years. I'm feeling compelled to list my favorites of the season as it draws to a close and we ease into the release schedule of Oscar hopefuls.

These are the films I enjoyed the most in this summer season. Click on the titles to see what I thought ......

The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Son of Rambow

I was also charmed by Mamma Mia!, The Wackness, Tell No One, Hancock, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Incredible Hulk.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 8/29/08

This week, the arrivals in RI theaters are a little underwhelming. Elegy and Transsiberian arrive in art houses. I'd like to see both. Traitor and Hamlet 2 are new this week. I thought Traitor was OK, but it may be a more satisfying rental in a few months. I still haven't seen The Dark Knight in IMAX, I hope to get there this weekend. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is worth a look. For fun, there's a singalong version of Mamma Mia! making the rounds. Grab your friends and join in! For funny there's House Bunny, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder. If you're looking for something to enhance your Tropic Thunder experience, there's a free download on iTunes called Rain of Madness. Pretty funny. Have a lovely long weekend!