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.


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 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.