Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 My Year in Film

It's too early to name my favorite films of 2009, but I thought the last day of the year was a good time to reflect on my film experiences.

Tribeca Film Festival is still my favorite vacation. I met Paola Mendoza after her screening of Entre Nos. Duncan Jones and Sam Rockwell delighted the audience with a Q&A after the screening of Moon. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jones, in June, at Newport Film Festival. I also met Jim Capobianco (Pixar, Leonardo), Scott Teems (That Evening Sun), Nick Paley (Picture Day) and Mimi Kennedy (In the Loop).

Twitter has enhanced my movie experience this year. It's fun for me to follow people like Jason Reitman, Duncan Jones, Jon Favreau, Paola Mendoza and Diablo Coady as they share their creative process, their travels and their thoughts.

This year awakened the sci-fi fan in me. Moon, District 9 and Star Trek will all land in my Top 10. Who knew?!!?

People who've joined me at the movies? Randi, Lucy and Liza joined me at TIFF. After seeing Coraline with my nephews there was an intense discussion. They're still talking about it. I'm also enjoying a long distance film-fan connection with my daughter. She lives 200 mile s away, but the last few films she's seen, I've seen after her. I call, we discuss. It's awesome!

2009 was a fun year in film, stay tuned for my favorites and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

DVD Backlog

With the holidays, I have been remiss on posting the weekly DVD releases. Being totally lazy, here they are as a list. Click on the titles to see what I thought when I saw them ..... enjoy!
(500) Days of Summer
District 9
Extract
It Might Get Loud
9
Paranormal Activity
Jennifer's Body

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

I'll admit I was a bit disappointed in Sherlock Holmes. The story was fine, the acting very good, but this film was work to watch. Dark, lots of quick-cut shots in the fight scenes, poor use of CGI and garbled dialogue. Even with all of this, it's a good film, just wish it had been sharper and easier on the eyes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Up in the Air

Up in the Air is a wonderful commentary on life, life choices and lifestyle. At the center of the film is a company that fires people for corporations. These folks spend the majority of their time on the road, or rather, in the air. The job requires a certain amount of emotional detachment, and their superstar is a master of just that. There is a plot line that I did not expect, that throws an emotional wrench in this man's life path. I'll leave it to the viewer to discover. This is a film that will make you think, will make you laugh, will make you cry. Beautifully shot, well acted, well edited, well done Mr Reitman.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Flick Picks 2009

The Christmas releases in RI are many. I'll list the new ones. Don't forget about Invictus, The Blind Side, Avatar (I hear this is best seen in 3D), Brothers, An Education, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog. Looks like a great Christmas season at the cinema, you know where to find me. Merry Christmas!

New releases in RI:
Up in the Air
It's Complicated
Me and Orson Wells
Nine
The Road
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Flick picks 12/18/09

For a movie fan, the weeks around Christmas are maddening. Tons of great film in theaters and no time to see them. I'll take family and friends over film. I know, shocking. So I watch all these great films tumble into theaters on and around Christmas, but they will have to wait a bit for me. What films am I talking about? This week it's Avatar and Up in the Air. Technically, Up in the Air is playing in MA, but Seekonk appears to be the new Providence. (what the hell??) Both will get my attention after Christmas. The Damned United is at the Cable Car, hope they hold it over a few weeks, I'd like to see it in the theater. Bad Lieutenant, Men Who Stare at Goats and The Messenger are at the Avon. At the multiplex? There's drama with The Blindside, Invictus, 2012, New Moon, Precious, Brothers and Everybody's Fine. For the family there's A Christmas Carol, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog. Lots of good stuff playing in (and around) RI this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Men, Monsters and Music in DVD

One of the funniest films I've seen this year is out in DVD. The Hangover made me laugh and it has a solid plot with a few surprises. Inglorious Basterds is a "what if" look at WW II Nazi terrorism. Taking Woodstock is a look at a story that happened on the fringes of Woodstock. In my DVD queue? I'm getting the Basterds to come over and show me some badass.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Cove

Documentary film makes a statement, exposes situations, educates and informs. The Cove is the most powerful documentary I've seen this year. The subject of dolphin capture and slaughter in Japan is something I knew nothing about. As disturbing and suspenseful as this film is, I'm glad there is an invitation to advocacy, action to be taken. This is a powerful, beautiful film that raises awareness and calls us to action. Well done.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The World's Greatest Dad

Often, parents live their lives through their children. The World's Greatest Dad is an amazing parody of this phenomenon.When Lance's son Kyle dies in an embarrassing accident, Lance creates a lie that raises the kid to celebrity, and satisfies his writing frustrations. Kyle is an unlikeable little prick, but by faking a suicide note and journal, his father attains the popularity and success that had always eluded them both. In the end, the truth frees him, and the pain of his son's death is addressed. Things end up as they should. Very dark comedy, and so worth seeing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 12/11/09

Arriving in RI theaters this weekend is the latest from Clint Eastwood, Invictus. The title means "unconquered", and from all I've read, this sport film lives up to it. For families, The Princess and the Frog opens. A strong Disney offering. Speaking of Walt, the documentary Walt and El Grupo is at the Cable Car. Bad Lieutenant:Port of Call New Orleans and The Hurt Locker are at the Avon. Bright Star and An Education are at the Jane Pickens. A good selection in RI art houses. At the multiplex? An Education, Brothers, Everbody's Fine, New Moon, Precious, The Blindside, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and A Christmas Carol, a little something for everyone.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cooks, Crooks and Books in DVD

There is quality film in DVD this week. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a nice addition to the franchise. Julie & Julia says a lot about food, marriage and life. Public Enemies is a strong crime biopic. New releases in my DVD queue? The Cove and World's Greatest Dad. A little something for everyone in DVD this week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Brothers

Squeezing in a double feature today, I slipped into my seat for Brothers, just as the opening credits began. It took me a while to settle into the plot, but the story of a man with a young family deployed to Iraq, captured, presumed dead, difficult dealings and drama ensue. In the final act of the film I realised that I was fully immersed. I haven't felt that way in a film in a long time. Intense, lovely, gritty and real, this drama is well worth seeing.

Everybody's Fine

With my mother, no matter what, when asked "how are you?" the answer is always "fine". It has a specific, sarcastic tone. The title of Everybody's Fine struck a chord with me and my upbringing. The last time a movie made me cry in the first 15 minutes, I was watching Up. It happened again in the first 15 minutes of this film. This story of a disjointed family is heartfelt. A father tries to stay connected to his grown children, who keep details of their lives from him, so as not to disappoint him. Performances and cast are outstanding. There is something about Sam Rockwell's smile that gets me every time (though I tend to see Sam Bell when I see him these days). A film worth a look.

Land of the Lost

I watched Land of the Lost because it was recommended by Mike Russell and Dawn Taylor on the Hamfisted Radio podcast. This will do well on cable. Goes well with beer.

Things that made me glad I didn't see it in the theater:
Cheesy costumes
Will Ferell
Poop, pee and boob gags
Bad special effects

Things that made me glad I rented this:
Danny McBride
Clever pop culture gags
Hallucination scene
Goof on Matt Lauer by Matt Lauer
A Chorus Line soundtrack as a running gag
Sid & Marty Kroft back at it
Nimoy voice cameo


Thanks guys, when you talk, I rent, and I've yet to be sorry. This one entertained me!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 12/4/09

Not a bad week for weekend releases here in lil ol' RI. Everybody's Fine and Brothers are on my list for this weekend. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, An Education, Precious , Blind Side, Pirate Radio, New Moon, 2012 and A Christmas Carol are all at the multi-plex for your entertainment. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Love, Lincoln and Lies in DVD

DVD releases this week include Night at the Museum:Battle of the Smithsonian. A decent comedy. Paper Heart is a sweet love story and the French film, A Christmas Tale, is a story of family. Quiet week in DVD

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson has taken the Roald Dahl tale of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and adapted it to film. Engaging, clever and quick paced, the film works well. I am always impressed by the work behind animation, so whenever I watch a film like this, I am in awe of the craftsmanship. This film will appeal to adults as well as kids. Will Mr. Fox outsmart the farmers? Do right by his family? Do right by his friends? Plenty of smarts, plenty of action and plenty of funny. I enjoyed this film.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 11/27/09

Films new to theaters this week opened on Wednesday, so I'm a little late to the party here. The Fantastic Mr. Fox opened wide and Ninja Assassin as well (though I read this ones a stinker). An Education and Precious are playing at local art houses. At the multiplex? Blind Side, Pirate Radio, New Moon, 2012, A Serious Man, The Men Who Stare at Goats, A Christmas Carol and Paranormal Activity are worth a look. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Comedy and Christmas in DVD

It's been a year since Four Christmasess hit theaters. Now it arrives on DVD. Is it me, or is that a long time? A decent holiday comedy. Also arriving on the DVD shelves, Funny People is a drama about comedy. This week I will observe tradition with my annual viewing of Pieces of April, my favorite Thanksgiving film. Happy Thanksgiving all!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Twilight Saga : New Moon

Anyone who knows me, knows I don't like to say anything negative about a film. The sad news here (for me) is that New Moon sucks. The pacing, the dialog, the CGI, it's awful. Does it stay close to the source material? Yes. Does it labor and suffer over unsupported romance? Yes. Do its fans and curious folks like me buy tickets? Yes. (to the tune of $140M wow!) Is there foreshadowing? Yes. The film continues the Twilight Saga, assuming everyone knows the characters and their stories. This is not a stand-alone film. I will say that the actors try, the writing is just horrendous. The fandom is amazing, and the phenomenon a real register ringer. I'm glad I saw it, because now I can voice my opinion, but I would not recommend it. The faithful dig it......

My Walk with Twilight

I was not aware of the Twilight Saga novels until they started to promote the film Twilight last year. When I heard about vampires and teen romance, I was out. As the opening date of "the highly anticipated" Twilight approached, I kept thinking "anticipated by whom?" Then the coverage of the screaming tweens began. This put me even further out. But being a film fan, my curiosity was getting the best of me. What was all the screaming about? I had resigned myself to the fact that I would see this film out of sheer curiosity. The weekend the film opened, I was with my newborn grandson, and decided that rocking him was more important than a vampire movie. On the table next to the rocker, was a paperback copy of Twilight. My daughter is a voracious reader, and she had bought it for a light read. I picked it up and read half of it in about an hour. It made me feel 14 years old. I was hooked. Zipping through the first book, I found Bella to be the most annoying character I'd ever read. I decided I was too old to get it. When I finally rented the film Twilight, I was sorely disappointed. It sucked. Once again, I was out.With the hype of the film New Moon hot on the heels of Twilight and the promise that New Moon was a better story, I picked up a copy of New Moon off a bargain rack. Hell, $5 was a good deal. I was reading it while I was on vacation in NYC and have never had so many people comment on what I was reading. There was a very funny conversation in a bar with two young bartenders, a middle aged man and an older gentleman. Everyone's reaction to the book was age and gender appropriate, very interesting ( and entertaining). So now I was in, the "saga" is only 4 books, so I buy a copy of Eclipse. As good as, if not a bit better than New Moon, now I'm committed to finishing the series. As the film New Moon opens, I'm half way through Breaking Dawn, and happy to hear that the second film is better than the first. Stay tuned .......

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Blind Side

I love a good sports film, especially when it's based on a true story. The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher, and how football and a generous family helped him excel. This film borders on cheesy, but never quite goes there. It's an interesting story. I got pretty choked up during the closing credits as they showed photos of the real people. A nice story, well told.

Precious

In January, I started reading about the film Precious:Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. A no holds bared story of Clarice Precious Jones. Her world is one of urban poverty, abuse, rape, ignorance, education and survival. In the hands of Lee Daniels, this story is turned into a film that is rich, raw and beautiful. The performances are outstanding, this film is well worth a look.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 11/20/09

OK, the big deal this weekend in theaters is New Moon. I'm reading that it's not the disaster Twilight was, so I'll give it a whirl. Close behind on the PR wagon is The Blind Side, the trailer has been running in theaters and on TV for weeks. Reading good things about it. Surprisingly, Precious is playing locally so that'll be my first film this weekend. An Education arrives in RI art houses and gets a big "see it" from me. Antichrist is at the Cable Car, not sure if I have the guts to see that one. Where the Wild Things Are, Pirate Radio, Paranormal Activity and The Men Who Stare at Goats worth a look at the multiplex. Good times, enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Space, Sisters and Sales in DVD

Films I've seen that are released to DVD this week are The Goods:Live Hard, Sell Hard, amusing comedy that will be a satisfying rental, My Sister's Keeper, a poignant story of family and devotion, and Star Trek one of the most entertaining films of the year. Also available is the DVD of The Tent: Life in the Round at www.wmtmovie.com and Benny's, with proceeds to benefit the URI-Bonoff Theater Fund. If you are in the UK, MOON is available in Blu-ray this week. I understand this version will play in both UK and US machines. The DVD is released in the US January 12th.

In my rental queue? The Open Road, The Limits of Control and Humpday. FYI, Bruno comes out in DVD this week as well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pirate Radio

I find radio to be an intimate media. When it began, it informed and entertained people, brought them together in living rooms and public places. With the invention of the transistor, it became personal. We could take it to work, to school, to bed, to the beach, in the car, it became the backdrop of our everyday activities. We relate to and feel close to the people who entertain us over the airwaves, they are in our lives. Radio became an important form of exposure for musicians. When rock and roll hit the airwaves, the music world exploded. There was a concern among adults of how this music was affecting the morality of the youth. In England, the BBC banned rock and roll from radio programing. A rouge group of broadcasters took to the North Sea on a huge ship, and became a radio sensation with Rock Radio. This is the subject of the film Pirate Radio. It is about freedom, rock & roll, fandom, friendship, entertainment and personalities. The music used in this film truly captures the era. It's worth sitting through the credits to see the list of songs and artists. The end of this film surprised me. Being a radio fan myself, it struck me as a tribute to radio folks and their connection with their fans. I love radio, I loved this film.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Education

On Tuesday, my daughter messaged me that she had just seen An Education. I had Wednesday off, so I took a short road trip to the Madison Art Cinemas, to see it as well. I experienced a smart, emotional take on the life of a young woman in 1960s London. A man in his mid 30s takes an interest in a 16 year old girl. The story starts out as a romance, but reality starts poking in, and things unravel. I liked the turns the story takes, the performances are outstanding. Seeing a movie like this by yourself is a little rough, because there's so much to discuss. Coming out of the film, I had a message from my daughter that said, "so, what did you think?" I called her on the way home, and we had a wonderful post-film chat. We may live 200 miles apart, but it was like we saw the movie together. Thank you technology. Terrific film.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

The story of a secret branch of the military, psychic spies, is the premise for the film The Men Who Stare at Goats. I wanted this film to be better than it was. George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges should have made this a no-brainer. Sadly, the plot lines get left pretty flat. A satire that didn't quite do it for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 11/13/09

Looking at the new releases to RI theaters, I know that I will not be spending 2 hours and 38 minutes watching 2012. I'm still bitter about 10,000 BC and The Day After Tomorrow. I know at some point I'll see it at the bargain theater, allured by the promise of great visual effects *sigh*. Pirate Radio will get me to the theater on Saturday. The Yes Men Fix the World, Good Hair, The House of the Devil, Coco Before Chanel, Paris and A Serious Man are in art houses. The Hurt Locker is at the Patriot, awesome flick. At the multiplex, I liked Where the Wild Things Are, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Paranormal Activity. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Adventure and Adversaries in DVD

Out in DVD this week is the Pixar gem of the year, Up. The is fun, heartfelt and philosophical, loved it. Watchmen hits the DVD shelves as well, the graphic novel comes to life.

In my DVD queue? The Merry Gentleman, The Accidental Husband and The Ugly Truth.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 11/6/09

Christmas comes early to theaters in Disney's latest adaptation of A Christmas Carol. This weekend I'll be checking out The Men Who Stare at Goats, and The Box arrives in RI theaters. New to RI art houses are Coco Before Chanel and Bronson. A Serious Man is still playing locally. At the multiplex This Is It, Where the Wild Things Are and Paranormal Activity are all worth a look.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Boys are Back

Parenting is a big job, especially when there's only one parent. In The Boys are Back, Joe loses his wife to cancer, they have a young son. We soon learn that he has another son with another woman in another country. The boys end up living together, and keeping the day to day together is a challenge. The strength of this film, based on a true story, are the performances of Clive Owen, Nicholas McAnulty and George MacKay. This film has a lot of heart, I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

This Is It

On putting my thoughts together on the documentary This Is It, I realize that I'm not much of a Michael Jackson Fan. Yes, I like a lot of his music. Yes, he was an amazing performer, but I'm not a die-hard, gotta have all that is Jackson, screaming fan. This film struck me as a tribute to the performer and director of his art. Polite, diplomatic and firm in how he wanted things, it was interesting to watch. As a dance fan I enjoyed the first half of the film that really focused on the choreography and the dancers. The second half was more about Michael, the music and his creative process. As the film came to a close, I teared up as I thought of his family and mother watching this (which I understand they have not). It's a bit too soon, but a loving insight.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 10/30/09

It's a bleak week for openings in RI theaters this week. This Is It and Boondock Saints II : All Saints Day hit theaters. I like a good concert flick so I'll probably check out the Jackson doc. The Boys Are Back, Beeswax, A Serious Man and Paris are playing in local art houses. Where the Wild Things Are, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Whip It, Julie & Julia and Law Abiding Citizen are at the multiplex. Halloween treats are The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jennifer's Body, Zombieland, Paranormal Activity and Cirque du Freak:The Vampire's Assistant. Have a spooctacular time!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spooky Flick Picks 2009

I'll admit it, I'm kinda psyched for Halloween this year. I've got the pumpkins that will become Jack o' Lanterns, I've got candy for the trick-or-treaters, I think I'm ready. A little film will make the holiday complete. Here are some film recommendations for a happy Halloween. BOO!

Trick 'r Treat : cool anthology-style horror flick with a sense of humor. Out in DVD.
Let the Right One In : vampires and subtitles, honest, it's worth it. Out in DVD.
Paranormal Activity : demons under surveillance, good suspense flick. In theaters now.
Drag Me to Hell : demonic possession in a campy style, very entertaining. Out in DVD
Zombieland - zombie road trip with more than a few laughs thrown in. In theaters now.
The Blob (1958) - more of a monster movie, but I saw this one recently and it's a classic. Out in DVD.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheri

I rented Cheri, because the film had good reviews. I wasn't crazy about the May - December romance aspect of this film, but it was an interesting aspect of the story which was originally penned by Colette. I was surprised at how the story developed. The performances were excellent and the plot moved right along. Nice romantic period film. I liked this more than I expected to.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Farce, Fright and Family in DVD

Whatever Works comes out in DVD this week. A clever film with a bit of a twist, funny stuff. Nothing Like the Holidays is in my rental queue. Another sparse week in DVD Land. Do yourself a favor and rent Trick 'r Treat. BOO!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Movie Chat with Cort & Fatboy

Before I went to bed last night, I was going to listen to Friday's Cort & Fatboy podcast. I'd been out with friends, my kids are all visiting for the weekend, all was right with the world. When I went to the KUFO website to find their regular show (hoping for a Mike Russell "power hour") I found a 6 minute message from Cort Webber and Bobby Roberts saying they had been fired. Their programming director and the Rick Emerson Show were gone as well. KUFO was cleaning house. I was shocked.

I started listening to Cort & Fatboy in 2006. Mike Russell, movie reviewer for the Oregonian, was doing Friday night reviews on the air. I liked Mike's taste in film and Cort & Fatboy are very knowledgeable when it comes to film. On Saturday mornings I would listen to the three of them chat film, then I'd turn it off and go about my week. As time went on, I would leave the podcast on and before I knew it, I would have listened to the whole show. Funny, topical, irreverent and smart, I was becoming a Cort & Fatboy fan.

The podcasts are available on iTunes, so I would download them to my iPod, and started listening to them on road trips in the car. They made the time fly and kept me laughing. They'd fill me in on the latest and greatest on movies, music, TV, comics, pop culture and politics. I even enjoyed news of the local events in Portland, though it is 3000 miles away. In an effort to get some exercise this summer, I started to walk a few days a week. Once again, the boys kept me company during a mundane task and I stuck with it, knowing I had something entertaining to listen to as I put in my miles. I felt lucky to have found such quality entertainment. Along the way I got to meet Byron Beck, Dave Walker, Dawn Taylor, Aaron Duran, Steven Humphreys and lots of very smart, talented people. Fortunately I can find all these folks online, but it won't be the same without the glue that is Cort & Fatboy.

Thanks guys, I hope you find a new gig and I'll be listening to you again soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 10/23/09

For the horror fans in RI theaters this week there's Saw VI and Cirque du Freak : The Vampire's Assistant. Paranormal Activity and Zombieland can also satisfy the need for a Halloween thrill. For adventure fans there's Astro Boy and Amelia. Worth a look at the multiplex, Where the Wild Things Are. Local art houses are showing A Serious Man.
I've got a house full of family visiting this weekend (so excited) so I won't be in the theater. I'll catch up Halloween weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Robots and Romance in DVD

It's a pretty barren week in DVD releases this week. Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen hits the shelves. Though it was not the best piece of cinema out this year, it was number one in the summer box office. Worth a look on DVD. In my DVD queue is Cheri. With such sparse pickin's, get a copy of Trick 'r Treat and enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Paranormal Activity

To me, the scary part of Paranormal Activity was the anticipation. Waiting and waiting for something to happen is well structured. Brilliant exposure of trailers and promotional materials also helped set up our imaginations until the action kicks in. Excellent technique that sets up an awesome ending. Well done.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where the Wild Thing Are

Maurice Sendak's nine sentences, and glorious illustrations, set the stage for the film Where the Wild Things Are. Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers use this stage to explore emotions and imagination. In life, we all feel isolation, anger, frustration, creativity, adventure, joy and love. In this film, we see an interpretation of these emotions that is direct, heartfelt, and at times, a little brutal. For me, this film delves into the human psyche, through a young boy, in a powerful, direct fashion. The group dynamic is dramatic and honest. Adults will get the message, kids will enjoy the wild things, Max and the howling rumpus. Well done.

My History with Where the Wild Things Are

I have been trying to remember when Where the Wild Things Are came into my life. I was 7 years old when the book came out, but we didn't have new books in our house much back in the day. I don't think I really got my hands on a copy until my babysitting years. Thinking of this book, I usually flash to a college children's literature course. I had to compile a card file of books for elementary school children. I had to read every book I put in the file. I had to have a minimum of 200 books. I remember sitting in the children's section of my hometown library, over my spring break, with piles of books around me. The one book I could not put back on the shelf was Where the Wild Things Are. A simple story of childhood rebellion and adventure, with the comfort of home and family. The illustrations were exotic and endearing. I was so enamored, I bought a paperback copy. At 20 years old, I kept it on my bookshelf with all my favorite books. It stuck out. The book got old, it traveled, it got beat up, somewhere along the line it was thrown out. When I had children, there was a copy in the house, but with all the other books and years gone by, be darned if I can find it now. My grandson was born a year ago, and his parents have embraced this lovely, poetic text as part of his bed time ritual. I have seen them lovingly recite those nine sentences to a child they love so much. It fills my heart. A few months ago, I bought a new copy of the book for my house. I look through it every once in a while and marvel at it's simplicity and depth. And now they've made a feature film based on this classic book. I hope the film does it proud. The fact that Sendak approves is enough for me. Let the wild rumpus start!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 10/16/09

The only movie I'm interested in seeing this weekend is Where the Wild Things Are. I just want to sit in Max's imagination for a bit. Law Abiding Citizen and Paranormal Activity also open at the multiplex. In art houses we have Paris and Big Fan. Still in RI theaters are Capitalism: A Love Story, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Couples Retreat, The Informant!, Surrogates, Whip It and Zombieland. And if you don't feel like going out, find a copy of Trick 'r Treat and get in the spirit of the season. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trick 'r Treat

Want a good Halloween film? Want to see a clever, anthology-style, horror film? Get your hands on a DVD copy of Trick 'r Treat. Unfortunately, this film never saw the big screen. A shame, because it's a good looking film. It is also a good weave of stories with just enough creepy to satisfy your Halloween pallet. Boo!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Capitalism : A Love Story

I try to give Michael Moore's films the benefit of the doubt. He brings important issues to the table for discussion. Then, through sensationalism and sarcasm, loses focus and productivity. I want films that pounce on social issues to be more productive, give us a direction, offer solutions. In Capitalism : A Love Story, he tries to compare economics to politics. They are related, but he never makes the connections make sense. He does a lot of finger pointing but stops short of drawing any real conclusions or solutions.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dancers, Dads, Demons & Demands in DVD

Out in DVD this week is Drag Me to Hell. An entertaining horror film that takes a tongue-in-cheek poke at the genre. Straight to video is a gem of a film that really should have been shown in theaters, yeah it's that good looking. Trick 'r Treat is a cool anthology-style horror film that gets the job done. Really enjoyed it and now I own it! New releases Every Little Step, Stepfather (1987) and American Violet are in my rental queue this week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Serious Man

How does life get so complicated? In A Serious Man we see a man trying to live his life. He starts to see each element crumble around him. He reaches out to his Jewish faith to find answers and meaning. He is left empty on many occasions. This black comedy is well written, well structured and a shocker of an ending make this a film worth a look. A strong comment on life, it's disappointments and unexpected turns.

Anvil : The Story of Anvil

The energy of their music, and the agony of the music business makes a poignant story in Anvil : The Story of Anvil. The pure joy and dedication that the members of the band have for their music is well portrayed in this documentary. The film's payoff, for me, was when they take the stage in the final performance in the film. Check it out and see if you don't agree.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Breaking Away

Breaking Away was recommended by Mike Russell as a great sports film. For me, the title has a double meaning. It's about bike racing and it's about life after high school. There is the classic conflict of townies vs college dudes. Adolescent independence vs family. The characters are trying to find themselves in the moment and in the future. This film is also gorgeous. Quarry and bike race scenes so well done. Not only the cinematography, but the music and the cast are pretty as well. Breaking Away is a film well worth a look, thanks Mike.

Whip It

For me, Whip It is about family. Yes there is roller derby, yes there are teens living in a small town wanting to get out, yes there is a dad who loves football, yes there is a beauty pageant, yes there is the rocker boy the girl makes out with. Under it all, there are families. The pageant girl's, the diner, the roller derby teams, the roller derby league. They stick together, they make each other laugh, they show support, they express their concern with respect (wh-wh-what!?!?), they love deeply. The first half of this film is light and sets up all the characters. The second half shows it's heart, hunkers down in reality and kicked my ass. Yes, I needed tissues. Loved these characters, loved this story, loved this film. (I think I got a glimpse of The Alamo Drafthouse) Fun film with a big heart.

Assassination of a High School President

Assassination of a High School President is a dark look at high school life through the eyes of a young man who wants to be an investigative journalist. Stolen SAT tests, drugs, gum, parties, driving tests and awkward teens are all present. The ending was a surprise and rather satisfying. My favorite line came at the end when our hero's friend wisely says, "forget it Bobby, it's high school."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 10/9/09

For me, it's a lukewarm week in RI theaters. The openings of Couples Retreat, St. Trinians and Thirst feel mediocre at best. I'll be catching up by seeing Whip It, Capitalism: A Love Story and maybe My One and Only. Films in theaters that I think are worth seeing are 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Inglourious Basterds, The Informant!, Julie & Julia, Surrogates and Zombieland. I'm hearing that the Toy Story double feature in 3D is fun. For me, Monday is a holiday so you know where to find me, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Zombieland

Zombieland starts with a clear explanation of where the zombies came from, and a little survival primer. It then becomes a road trip film to escape. Four characters meet and have a goal, find a zombie-free zone. Some of the zombie battles are trite, but there are enough one-liners to entertain and even a little love story. The gore is there, I couldn't eat my snacks during this one. A decent zombie flick, I liked it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Friday Flick Picks on Monday?

I was remiss in posting Friday Flick Picks this week due to a road trip to visit family. My grandson turned 1 year old and the anticipation of seeing he and his parents was more exciting to me than what was in theaters this weekend. Now that the festivities are over, I'm on my way home. Took the day off to travel today, think I'll try to see Zombieland enroute. Still want to see Whip It, but I'll get to it next weekend. The DVD queue? Anvil! The Story of Anvil and Assassination of a High School President await me. Happy Monday!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mates, Music and Mentality on DVD

I haven't posted about DVD, in weeks, because, the DVD releases have been meager. This week the situation improves. In the relationship department we've got Away We Go, which is a modern romantic comedy with a very realistic vibe. The Girlfriend Experience is an artful tail of a prostitute who is looking at marketing and a normal life. A wonderful documentary about the construction of Steinway pianos is called Note by Note, well worth a look.

In my DVD queue, The Brothers Bloom, Management and Shrink. I'm finally excited for my new DVD releases to arrive. Yay!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jennifer's Body

I have read that Jennifer's Body was one of the first screenplays Diablo Cody wrote. I understand most writers have a horror story in their portfolio. Word is, she used her Oscar clout from Juno to get this film made. I'm glad she did. Basically, Jennifer meets up with some unseemly characters that unwittingly turn her into a man-eating demon. The characters are recognizable, the rules of the demons are clear and the execution is decent. Though it had it's cheesy moments, they gave the film a certain charm. I enjoyed it.

An interesting side note; there was a sign at the box office of a theater in Warwick, warning patrons that there was a scene reminiscent of the Station nightclub fire. A local wound that is still very raw.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Surrogates

Sci-fi seems to be the film genre darling of 2009. Star Trek, Moon and District 9 are a few of the best films released this year. Now, with Surrogates, we have another one. This is the story of a world where people stay home, and safely live their lives through their indestructible surrogates. Of course, things go awry, bad guys are revealed and the good guy is out to save the world. Well done, exciting and entertaining. Another refreshing take on futuristic life. Worth a look.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 9/25/09

Not much to shout about in new releases to RI theaters this week. I am most looking forward to seeing Surrogates. I'm curious about Pandorum and Fame. New to art houses is Bright Star, and It Might Get Loud is held over, SEE IT. There is a sneak peek of Whip It Saturday night at Providence Place. Also in RI theaters are Julie & Julia, 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, District 9, The Informant!, Inglourious Basterds, Jennifer's Body and My One and Only.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Melanie

Today is my daughter Melanie's birthday. Several years ago I made a list of films that were released the year she was born, 1980. Because she is an impressive person, and this is an impressive list I'm posting it again. Happy Birthday Melanie!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Informant!

While watching The Informant!, I kept asking myself: is it the cars? is it the music? is it the ties? is it the acting? is it the cinematography? is it the structure? is it the directing? By the end of the film, I found the answers were: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Really enjoyed this film about corporate corruption, deceit and delusion. Well worth a look.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 9/18/09

The kids will enjoy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs arriving in RI theaters this weekend. New to RI art houses, It Might Get Loud (yes, I'm going to see it again) and The September Issue. The Informant! and Jennifer's Body round out the weekend releases. I'll be seeing The Informant!, Jennifer's Body not so much. 9, Ponyo, District 9, Julie & Julia and Inglourious Basterds are all in the multiplex for your consumption.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence is the pensive story of a con gone wrong. This Belgian film follows Lorna's struggles with aspects of her personal life. Some are honest, some not so much. As the events unfold, her conscience and emotions take over, and psychological defense mechanisms kick in. An intense drama that's well worth a look.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tetro

Francis Ford Coppola takes a poetic turn with the film Tetro. Filmed mostly in black and white there is a retro feel to this story of two brothers. Emotions run high and the drama is strong throughout the film. The performances are outstanding, as is the look. I liked this film a lot more than expected.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9

With intense visuals and crazy chase scenes, we enter the world of 9. A handful of man made characters struggle to stay out of the clutches of evil. It takes a while for their purpose and quest to be explained. This is the second movie I've seen this month that tries to define the soul. It's a tough story arc. No revelations here, but it is a stunning piece of animation.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Adam

I cried at the end of the opening scene of Adam. I cried at the closing scene of Adam. The emotional timbre of this film was consistent and relateable. This film is an examination of life conditions. Love, loss, struggle, success, and all that happens to two people who bring their own baggage to the table. Life happens. I liked this film.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

It Might Get Loud

As I bought my ticket to see It Might Get Loud, the young man handing me my change said, "good choice, this is the best film showing here right now. It's like getting three biopics in one film ... and some really great music." He was right. The film follows Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White through their self-told musical histories. Specifically their relationships with their guitars. Vintage footage of U2, White Stripes and Led Zeppelin is a real treat. I have a soft spot for musicians and am especially fascinated by their passion and creativity. All of these men embrace various levels of technology to ply their craft. It was a privilege to get this inside look. Yes, once again, I was the grinning fool in the dark. I'm still smirking thinking of the three jamming with each other on Whole Lot of Love. Watching them follow each other and learn from each other was enthralling. The final collaboration of Take a Load Off Fannie, kept everyone in their seats until the lights came on in the theater. (I'm smiling again just thinking about it) I traveled to see this film because I couldn't wait to see it. I'll see it again when it hits RI in a few weeks. Yeah it's that good. The kid who sold me my ticket was right.

Taking Woodstock

When I first saw the trailer for Taking Woodstock I thought it looked cute. Then during the week of the 40th anniversary of the legendary concert I learned how true many of the events of the film were. The latest movie based on the iconic event has more to do with behind the scenes events than the concert itself. An interesting perspective.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Extract

The factory depicted in the film Extract reminds me of where I work. They make flavor extracts, we make plastics. Manufacturing, is still manufacturing. There are people and personalities. There is strife, success, gossip, politics and drama. An observational comedy that is character driven. Dark at times, but you still want to laugh. Strong performances make this film an excellent addition to the comedies of 2009.

The Tent : Life in the Round

As I sat watching The Tent : Life in the Round, a documentary about the Warwick Musical Theater aka "The Tent", a lot of names came to mind. Tom Jones, Pat Boone, Debbie Boone, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Connie Stevens, Rita Rudner, Jesus Christ Superstar, Louie Anderson, Kaleidoscope Theater, George Burns, Tony Bennett. All shows I saw at The Tent, I wish this list were longer. The Warwick Musical Theater was a gem in RI that brought big talent to a small state. The nickname "The Tent" comes from the fact that the original theater was a circus tent, that was put up and taken down every year. The permanent structure was the old AT&T pavilion from the World's Fair. It closed in 1999, and a Lowe's sits on that piece of real estate today. The film is a wonderful collection of memories from past employees, patrons, family and performers. The love for Buster and Barbara Bonoff oozes from this film.

Memories that ran through my head as I watched (close to tears most of the time):

Being freaked out by the pharisees of Jesus Christ Superstar as they entered from the back of the theater. I was on the aisle and 14. The looming, hooded figures thrilled and spooked me.

Being impressed by a guy who went to the box office when it opened the season and bought up tickets to half a dozen shows. Yeah, I married him

Being 8 months pregnant, sitting in those god-awful chairs, and savoring every moment of George Burns' act.

Taking my four year old daughter to the Kaleidoscope Theater children's series. What a wonderful exposure to live theater

Having my date wrap an arm around me during a Tony Bennett performance, a very romantic night (did not marry that one).

Watching the lovely Rita Rudner unknowingly step into the poop that was a banking crisis in RI. She handled it well, but poor thing had no idea why folks laughed at the wrong spots in her jokes.

Watching Joan Rivers give floor plants to folks she picked on during her act.

Rolling down the windows if you drove by the tent on the night of a performance. You could hear the music from the street.

Marveling at the autographed photos of celebrities when you had dinner at the Golden Lantern.

This film is a wonderful archive of a Rhode Island institution that was well used and well loved.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 9/4/09

At the top of my weekend viewing list is the new release Extract. The trailer looks just like my workplace, can't wait. Just Saturday, a good friend recommended Lorna's Silence, which is at the Cable Car this weekend. To catch up with last week's releases, I'll be seeing The Tent:Life in the Round, Taking Woodstock and Adam. Also in theaters are District 9, Inglourious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer Julie & Julia, Ponyo, The Hurt Locker, The Hangover and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is at IMAX. Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Unwigged & Unplugged in DVD

I have volunteered in the transportation department of Newport International Film Festivall since 2002. I started as a dispatcher. In 2005 I was asked to be a talent driver. I was assigned to drive Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer to their performances and screenings. They came to Newport to help celebrate Mike McKean receiving a lifetime achievement award. The three men are very dear friends. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement These gentlemen were friendly, kind and polite to a stranger they trusted to get them to where they needed to be. Their conversation was lively and they performed an acoustic set I will not soon forget. (I was also lucky enough to sit in on a sound check, musical magic). At the Q&A after the performance, they were asked if they would ever perform again as Spinal Tap and the guys laughed. Basically, they said they were over the wigs and costumes, but they really enjoyed performing together in an acoustic, informal format. In the spring of 2009 the three men did just that. They went on tour with Unwigged & Unplugged. The guys describe Unwigged & Unplugged by saying, "Think of the evening as three old friends jamming in your living rooms. As opposed to OUR living rooms; we won't be home." A concert DVD of the event is released today. I can't wait to get my copy. As I watch, I'll remember the moment I got a wink and a smile from one of the guys while I was standing backstage. That kind of thing only happens live, you never forget it.

State of Play also releases to DVD this week. Sin Nombre and Good Dick are in my rental queue.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Steiner Studios, Brooklyn, NY

Yesterday, I drove through the lot at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, NY. I'm still marveling at what a thrill it was for me. Steiner is the largest studio complex on the east coast, and has been home to the making of many films I have enjoyed. I am as fascinated with the process of film making, as I am with the product. It is not a process people like me get to experience very often. Keep in mind, all I saw on Sunday were the enormous buildings that house this magic process. I drove really slow through the lot, and felt a thrill imagining what goes on behind those walls. Feel like such a geek thinking about it today, but it just reminds me how much I love all that is movies. Even what I can't see ... but I got real close.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 8/28/09

Released to theaters this week is Taking Woodstock. A lighthearted look at the legendary music festival. Then there are also 2 films opening that I will probably never see, Halloween II and The Final Destination. Inglourious Basterds is well worth a look. The Tent:Life in the Round opens at the Showcase in Warwick. A documentary about the Warwick Musical Tent that I'm looking forward to seeing. Adam, District 9, Julie & Julia, Ponyo, The Hangover and The Goods are playing also. I'll be in NYC celebrating my birthday this weekend. Don't think I'll have time for a film, but there will be much merriment!

** Support a film maker reminder: Mr. Rogers & Me can use our help. If you want to support a good film, go here and thanks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Love, Loss and Longing in DVD

DVD releases this week that I've seen are Duplicity, Adventureland and Sunshine Cleaning. Stories of love and ambition are well done. In my DVD queue are Rudo y Cursi and Trouble the Water. I've been told that Trouble the Water is a heart rendering depiction of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Good week for DVD, enjoy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cold Souls

Cold Souls is a farce that treats the soul like a physical commodity. If it weighs you down, have it removed and store it away for a while. The side effects and trafficking are addressed in a mind bender of a film. Worth a look.

PS : To the woman behind me who chewed out the seniors at the end of the row for talking, older folks go to the early matinees .... deal with it. No need to be so nasty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Watching Quentin Tarintino talk about Germans looking at WW II "through the eyes of guilt", I sat up and paid attention. My paternal heritage is German, and on a playground in the early 60s, I was called a Nazi. It stung. I have trouble with anything attached to WW II, the Holocaust. Photos of Hitler make me cringe. Now, Mr. Tarantino brings a very liberating, violent, fantasy tale to the big screen in Inglourious Basterds. The important word here is "fantasy". Scalping Nazis and taking a baseball bat to said folks makes sense to me. Gory and graphic in this film, I understand that it ain't right. As Tarantino says in his interview, Inglourious Basterds gives Germans an emotional outlet, humor, to deal with some pretty deep seeded f**ked up guilt. Probably because it was a f**ked up period in modern history. As a film, I loved the structure, the music, the camera work, the editing, the performances. In my book, well done.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 8/21/09

The big film release this week is Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino's wacky imagination, Brad Pitt's acting and Nazis. What a combination! Trying to manage my expectations so I can enjoy it. The Tent:Life in the Round premiere's tomorrow night at PPAC. A documentary about the Warwick Musical Tent that will delight locals. It plays in theaters next week. MOON returns to RI, this week at the Avon, check it out! Other indies worth a look this weekend, The Hurt Locker, Humpday, Easy Virtue, Unmistaken Child, In the Loop and (500) Days of Summer.If you don't mind gory bits in your futuristic sci-fi, District 9 is a very cool film that I really enjoyed. On a lighter note there's Julie & Julia, Ponyo, The Hangover, Bandslam, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Funny People. For one of the best bargains in RI, check out the schedule at the Patriot Cinema. For $1.99 you can see films like, Star Trek, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Public Enemies, Bruno, Monsters vs Aliens and Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Not a bad line-up for the dog-days of summer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mr. Rogers & Me ... in progress

I usually write about movies that are already made, but this post is a little different. It's about a film that is almost finished, and needs a little help. I first learned of Benjamin Wagner back in 2005. A blog I was reading, linked his blog. I liked his writing style, his posts about running, living in NYC, working at MTV and making music. After reading for a few weeks, I looked in the archives of his essays, and came across one he wrote about meeting Fred Rogers. I was touched. Over the years I have enjoyed his blog, his music (recorded and live) and his passion to make the world a little better if he can. (*cough*826NYC*cough*) In a conversation with Mr. Rogers, Benjamin was tasked to "spread the message" of a life deep and simple. Along with his brother Christofer, he decided to use film to do just that. Mr. Rogers & Me was born. They traveled to interview people who knew Mr. Rogers and were impacted by the man's simple life philosophy. The film is approaching post-production and the guys could use a little help in the finance department. If you like supporting worthy causes, struggling film makers or you just like supporting someone spreading a strong, deep, simple message, donate here. If they can raise $10,000 for post production, Mr. Rogers & Me could be film festival ready by the end of the year. Ben says it best here (watch the trailer). I threw a few bucks at them, go here if you'd like to as well. Every little bit helps. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In the Loop

In the Loop is a scathing satire that people seem to love or hate. The film is a British take on words misunderstood and military diplomacy. The film firmly pokes fun at politics and PR. I thought this was smart, sharp, sassy and sarcastic. Very funny. Some of my friends, not so much. I don't mind being contrary.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Paper Heart

I went into Paper Heart not knowing what to expect. Having read mixed reviews, I wondered if it was worth the box office dollar. I was richly rewarded with a film that is creative, heart-felt, clever and worth every dime. Charlene Yi and Jake Johnson (aka Nick) put together a story and premise that sucks you in, grabs your inner romantic, your inner cynic, and gives them a good shake. The diverse views of love and falling in love are interesting and sweet. The puppet (shadow box) reenactments are brilliant. Well done and thank you. I wish I had seen this at the Arclight in LA where, according to Twitter posts, Charlene has been conducting Q&As and tearing tickets. Good job!

PS (Very pretty wedding dress!)

Ponyo

Ponyo is a visual feast. The animation of Hayo Miyazaki delights and thrills. The story of a boy who finds a little fish with big dreams is both sweet and a little edgy. The boy's parents aren't perfect, neither are Ponyo's. The infusion of magic is just enough, and when things get intense the reward is worth it. At the climax of the film, the emotion is intense and I saw a well-meaning Grandma try to remove her 4ish grandson from the theater. The boy refused to leave and I'm glad because the resolution of the film is a happy one. This story addresses family, aging, pollution, care-taking and true love. Well done!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

District 9

Earlier this week, I saw a few stills and knew a little about District 9. My 1950s head said "boy movie" and dismissed it. I thought I would not appreciate it. When I posted my movie list for the weekend, a friend posted, "District 9 not on the list?" So I went to his review and others. Holy crap, everyone who had seen this film loved it! Ashamed of myself for being so closed minded, it immediately went on the weekend movie list. After seeing it today, I must once again say, "holy crap"! This film is so creative, so crazy and so gory. Open your mind to aliens as a subculture on earth, how they are treated and what they might want. This film is intense and the weaponry is nuts. The final battle scene blew my mind. Be prepared for people popping like bloody balloons (seriously). One of the most impressive films I've seen this year. Thanks Fatboy.

motherofthebride Once Again

I joined the blog-world back in 2004 because my daughter was engaged. I so enjoyed her wedding blog, I felt a need to jump in the blog-pool. After creating this site, I realized I had very little to say, I'm a very awkward author. Melanie encouraged me to write about something I was passionate about .... movies. So I did. I chose to keep the motherofthebride.blospot.com just because I liked it and, at the time, it fit. Once Melanie & Joe were married, the address felt funny, but enough time had gone by that I didn't want to change it. It helped when they bought me www.lindashortman.com for my 50th birthday. I linked the blogger account, and forgot about it.

Today, my daughter Liza and her boyfriend Ryan got engaged. YAY!

motherofthebride.blogspot.com, once again, fits. The writing is still awkward, but I hope it's better. And I couldn't be more thrilled to see my children so happy!!! motherofthebride feels pretty good today!

The Goods:Live Hard, Sell Hard

The Goods is a comedy that gets most it's laughs from the outrageous behavior of it's characters. Don Ready and his sales squad are hired to save a family's car dealership. There is the racist old man, the weasel, the girl, the nympho, the kid, the buddy, the douche. Raunchy and inappropriate, this is an OK comedy that moves right along and has it's moments.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 8/14/09

There is joy in my movie heart today, as RI theaters welcome lots of good film for my weekend viewing list. First on the list is Ponyo and The Goods. Then Fatboy Roberts told me just how awesome District 9 is, and it joined the list. THEN I check the local listings, and see that Paper Heart is playing, and my list grows! And Every Little Step is back in town. What fun, what a lineup. I'm psyched that I have the time to languish in the theater this weekend. Also reading good things about Bandslam. For romance, there's The Time Traveler's Wife and for a scathing satire, In The Loop opens here as well. G.I. Joe:The Rise of Cobra, (500) Days of Summer, Julie & Julia, Funny People, The Ugly Truth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hangover, G-Force, Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Aliens in the Attic are in theaters as well. Whew! Lots to pick from, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dudes and Diversity in DVD

I Love You Man comes to DVD this week. Raunchy humor abounds in this satisfying comedy. Also, the French drama The Class, about all the very different students, in very real situations in a high school classroom. In my queue are 17 Again (needed some light viewing) and film festival darling Gigantic.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Julie & Julia

The French Chef came to PBS in 1962. I was 6 years old. On a little black & white TV, my mother would glean cooking tips from this enthusiastic woman. Well into my teen years, I remember her watching the show, as did I, and a love for Julia grew. Boeuf Bourguignon was Moms favorite, and my family was the beneficiary. When I heard there would be a film with Julia Child as the central focus, I thought, "who could play this icon? Ah yes, a modern day icon, Meryl Streep. My friend Susan is a big-time foodie, so I made plans with her to see the film. We sat, entranced by the film, for two hours. The parallel stories of Julie Powell and Julia Child unfolding in front of us. When an editor splashed wine on the Boeuf recipe, I teared up. That was exactly what my Mom's copy looked like. The stories, the relationships, the food, oh so powerful. Thanks ladies. Lovely memories and a lovely film.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 8/7/09

Along with the RI Film Festival, there are some good openings in RI theaters this weekend. G.I. Joe:The Rise of Cobra is out there for the action fans, (500) Days of Summer (which I loved) and I'll be seeing Julie & Julia with my friend, the foodie. Funny People (remember, it's not a comedy) The Hurt Locker, The Ugly Truth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Up, The Hangover and Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen are in theaters for your enjoyment. G-Force, Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Aliens in the Attic is the family fare.Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

As a love story, (500) Day of Summer is very one sided. He's hot, she's warm. He's obsessed, she's indifferent. Jumping around in time, Tom's days with Summer are cute and real. Well, written, well acted, well edited. If people don't relate to at least one of the days, I'd be surprised. Unfortunately, my familiarity kicked in around day 428. I'd spoil the ending if I told how my last relationship ended up. I've made progress, I did not cry! Worth a look.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Music and Misses in DVD

The Soloist is an excellent rental this week A talented musician deals with his condition and his passion. Movies I missed in theaters, and have in my rental queue, are Obsessed, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 and Fragments. Enjoy!

Obsessed

I keep trying to think of something good to write about the movie Obsessed ...... I can't.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Funny People

I like Adam Sandler as a dramatic actor. I thought he did a good job in Reign Over Me, and now he has a dramatic turn in Funny People. He plays a popular comedian who is struggling with his health, lifestyle and decisions. Performances all around are good. It earns its R rating from coarse language and continuous references to male anatomy. Some, very colorful and creative. Don't expect belly laughs, expect a good story, told well.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

The singing of Annette Hanshaw is a striking accompaniment for the parallel story lines in Sita Sings the Blues. Beautiful animation, and the heartbreak of Sita, moves along side the story of Nina and Dave. An interesting piece that anyone who likes different forms of animation should see. I liked this one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 7/31/09

It's a funny weekend for films arriving in RI theaters. Big studio release is Funny People (ha). Bit more of a drama than a comedy, from what I've read. MOON, my summer darling, FINALLY comes to an RI theater. Opera House in Newport is he venue, check it out. The Hurt Locker also arrives. Good war drama, very intense. The Ugly Truth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Up, The Hangover and Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen are in theaters for your enjoyment. G-Force, Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Aliens in the Attic is the family fare. Stay cool and enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Animation and Advertising in DVD

In my DVD queue is Sita Sings the Blues. An animated offering from India that I have read wonderful things about. TV series I'm checking out this week is Mad Men. Rental choices still pretty meager. I'll take suggestions.

PS: I missed Bart Got a Room on the first posting of this. Great coming of age flick, worth a look

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is an emotional roller coaster that is well worth the ride. The film grabs the audience, shakes it by the throat, sets it down, and repeats. A masterful film style takes us inside the tasks and emotions of a special bomb unit in Iraq that meets dramatic circumstances. Dealing with their enemy, their emotions and their job makes for a thriller of a war film.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 7/24/09

Every Friday morning, armed with the local paper and a highlighter, I choose my movies to see over the weekend. For the first time in a very long time, the pen did not touch the page today. *sigh* I've seen everything I'm interested in. Cheri, Orphan and The Ugly Truth open here, but don't feel they are worth my movie dollar. Though the temptation is to go see MOON again, The Hurt Locker is playing at a little over an hour away. A road trip may be in order tomorrow. The Hangover, Public Enemies, Up, Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince are all worth a look. Is this the summer doldrums for film??? Good time to catch up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fanboys

Boys can be silly. Especially boys who live for Star Wars (though they do have the token girl along for the ride). Fanboys is all about that. A group of Star Wars fanboys go on a road trip to storm Skywalker Ranch, to steal a copy of Phantom Menace because they can't wait for it to come to theaters. I might be a bit of a fanboy myself, cuz when they are in Lucas' memorabilia room I got chills. A silly movie, but kinda cute.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jaws .... again

Things I'd forgotten about the movie Jaws:

Quint drinks Narragansett beer.
Old Spice in the towel while chumming.
Brilliant camera work.
I still know all the words to Show Me the Way to Go Home.
The acting is skillful and believable.
What you don't see is scarier than what you do see.
Most of all, forgot how much I love this movie.
And, no, I don't swim in the ocean at night any more.......

Monday, July 20, 2009

Heroes and Heroines in DVD

This week, the two DVD releases I've seen are adapted from popular books. Coraline is adapted from the children's book by Neil Gaiman. Watchmen comes from the popular graphic novel. Both worth a look. In my DVD queue are Echelon Conspiracy and The Great Buck Howard.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is probably the most performance driven of the Potter films so far. Though it has it's moments of visual brilliance, the actors have matured as well as their characters. The performances they deliver are interesting and captivating. Harry and Dumbledore are trying to figure out Voldemort's evil plan, the Death Eaters reek havoc and Malfoy is a tormented soul helping the Death Eaters gain access to Hogwarts. This film sets the stage for the next two. Something to look forward to.

PS : They show the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are before the film, and though we've sen it on the Internet, it looks awesome on the big screen. I got a little choked up watching it. Can't wait for this one.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 7/17/09

So the big news in RI theaters is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Can't wait to catch up with the wiz-kids. According to Sony, Seekonk is the new Providence. If you live in RI and want to see MOON.... and you want to see MOON, the closest venue is the Showcase on Rt. 6 in Seekonk, MA. Well worth the ride. It also opens on more screens in the US and UK this weekend. SEE IT! In art houses we've got the documentaries Food Inc. and Herb & Dorothy. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Bruno, The Hangover, Public Enemies, Up, Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen and Whatever Works are all in theaters as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Moon ..... again

I first saw the film Moon at Tribeca Film Festival back in April. Since January, the film has been squired to film festivals far and wide by it's director, Duncan Jones. I had the pleasure of meeting this young man when Sony sent the film to Newport Film Festival in June. It was the week before the film would open in limited release, and he admitted to a case of nerves on how the film would be received. Having seen the film already (and loving it), I was fascinated with his insecurities. A kind, funny, talented, polite guy who won this film fan over in a matter of minutes. A few hours later, he and his film had wowed the festival. This weekend Moon finally opened near my neighborhood, giving me the opportunity to see the film again.

On my first viewing of Moon, I was all about following the story. Delighted by the twists and turns of the plot, many of the fine points went over my head. On that night in April, as the lights came on in the theater, all I could think was, "I've got to see this one again." So last night I took the ride to the Showcase in Seekonk, MA, settled into a prime seat and let the film unfold in front of me for the second time. The delight for me on this viewing, was the attention to detail. An homage to infomercial products, big old fuzzy dice hanging in the rover, tasteful (and much appreciated) attention to Sam Rockwell's handsome backside (moon? ha!), the gorgeous score and using the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This story takes place in a sci-fi setting, but the story is a great psychological drama. Though I could have waited for this one to come out in DVD for my second viewing, there is a benefit to seeing it on the big screen. This is a gorgeous film you deserve to see in a theater... big, big big. For weeks I've been obnoxious on Twitter and here, encouraging folks to see Moon. So much so, my daughter said, "Mom it sounds like you're getting something out of this." She's right, I get the thrill of recommending a damn fine film that I hope people will enjoy as much as I did. And a note to Mr. Jones: please make more!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 7/10/09

Joy, joy, joy, the film Moon goes into wider release this weekend and it comes to my little world! Technically, the film is still not playing in RI, but the Showcase Rt 6 is in Seekonk, MA, right over the state line. See it! Throw Down Your Heart is at the Cable Car Cinema. Filmmaker Sascha Paladino brings us the travels of his brother, Bela Fleck (virtuoso banjo player and hell of a nice guy), to Africa to explore the origins of the banjo. As a special treat, Bela Fleck will be there tonight for Q&A and maybe a tune or two. Check it out. Also opening this weekend is Bruno, outrageous comedy abounds. Other films in theaters are Public Enemies, Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Whatever Works, Away We Go, Star Trek, Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen, My Sister's Keeper, The Hangover and Up. And did I mention MOON? Enjoy!