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 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 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 for my 50th birthday. I linked the blogger account, and forgot about it.

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


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.