Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Murder, Millionaire, Marley in DVD

Oh the joy, Slumdog Millionaire is out in DVD this week! The worthy Oscar winner is an edgy, heartwarming tale of love and survival. Another great rental is the French thriller Tell No One. Excellent film.

In my rental que is Seven Pounds. It was recommended to me, but I did not get to it in theaters. Dave Walker of badazzmofo recommended the film Special, so I'm giving it a look. Also of note, is the DVD release of the film Marley & Me. I don't need a sob-fest, so I don't think I'll be renting that one any time soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hasbro Children's Hospital Radiothon 2009

A little break from films here, for a very good cause. Hasbro Children's Hospital is an amazing resource here in southern New England. A state of the art hospital, designed to address the health needs of children. It is one of the top 30 hospitals in the country. Community support is esential. Every year there is a Hasbro Children's Radiothon to raise money to support the work that goes on there. My friends at 92ProFM, and other local radio stations, spend three days telling the stories of the children and families that have benefited from the care and expertise of this fine facility. I have spent my share of time in hospitals with my own children and grandson for accidents and surgeries. I can't imagine having to deal with the ugly disease of cancer. Hasbro does amazing work on all fronts. Times are tough, but if you can help the kids, please do. To donate, you can call 877-719-KIDS (5437) or click here to help the kids, donate now! Thanks .....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bond and Bolt in DVD

A sparse week in DVD releases, but they're decent films. Quantum of Solace is the latest Bond installment. Daniel Craig resumes the role and does not disappoint. Disney's Bolt is a solid animated offering. Family friendly and better than I expected. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I seem to be a little vulnerable to relationship stories lately. I was taken by the honesty of He's Just Not That Into You. Amused by the frankness about sexuality in I Love you, Man. And now, the line from Duplicity, "I know who you are, and I love you anyway", grabbed me by the heartstrings. *sigh* Yes, Duplicity has all the double, triple crosses of a corporate espionage thriller. No one is what they appear to be. OK, well done. But, the romance takes front seat in the final act of the film, and I loved it.


Kristen Stuart is a perfect Bella. Robert Pattinson comes to life as Edward through the dialogue, just as he does in the book. These two young actors interpret the characters from the book so well. Unfortunately, the script is clunky, and even the action is not what it should be. It' pretty typical for the book to be better than the film, and in the case of Twilight, it is.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Love You, Man

What's so funny about I Love You, Man ?

Jason Segel's walk.
Peter's inability to drop cool-speak. So awkward, so funny.
The break up scene.
Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau's characters. Hilarious couple.
The toast. And the fact that the group of kids in front of me didn't get it. I was on the floor laughing.
The running gags. ".... you whore."
The "man cave".
Lou Ferrigno's house.

Very funny, raunchy, satisfying comedy, that was just the ticket for me today. Well done.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 3/20/09

With spring comes better weather, and better film openings to RI theaters. Duplicity, I Love You Man, Two Lovers, Wendy and Lucy and Knowing come to local cinemas. I Love You Man and Duplicity will get my weekend dollars. Still in theaters are Taken, Doubt, The Reader, Milk, The Wrestler , Slumdog Millionaire, He's Just Not That into You, Paul Blart:Mall Cop, Coraline and Watchmen. Feels like we're breaking out of the film doldrums. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson 1963-2009

When I think of Natasha Richardson, all I can think of is "lovely". Lovely in family, lovely in her art, lovely in her life. A graceful, spirited, talented woman who has passed much too soon. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. Thanking her for her work and example. Lovely.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blood and Betrayal on DVD

The film Elegy starts out as a story of insecurity. It ends up as an intense love story. Worth a look. In my que is "the highly anticipated" Twilight. I avoided this film in the theaters, because of the teen hysteria. I read the book, liked the story, look forward to the DVD. FYI, it has an unusual Saturday release date of 3/21. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Color of Money

Things I had forgotten about The Color of Money:

The amazing camera work of Martin Scorsese..
The powerful cool of Paul Newman's performance.
The shear arrogance of Tom Cruise's performance.
The honesty of Helen Shaver's performance.
The beauty and strength of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's performance.
The power of the placement of the music.
A story that values integrity.
The satisfaction of the conclusion.

Glad I watched this film again.
(Thanks to 2 Dollar Productions for reminding me to revisit this film)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nobel Son

I was expecting more of a dysfunctional family story when I rented Nobel Son. Turns out I had a thriller on my hands. Eli Michalson is a self centered bastard, who is more put out than concerned, when his son is kidnapped on the eve of his receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The events, previous and following, twist turn and surprise the viewer. The reveals are many and come quickly. Pay attention. A crazy ride, a decent rental.

Mystery Men

In anticipation of Watchmen's release last week, several sources recommended the film Mystery Men. A wacky comedy from 1999. A crew of screwball, superhero-wannabes battle the forces of evil. It's silly and sarcastic, fun stuff. It runs a little long, but if you're looking for goofy superheroes, check this one out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 3/13/09

There is NOTHING opening in RI theaters that I want to see this weekend. The Last House on the Left? No. Race to Witch Mountain? Love ya Dwayne, but no. Miss March? Hell to the no. Oscar nominees The Reader, Milk and The Wrestler are still hanging in. If you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet, what are you waiting for????? On the light side there's He's Just Not That into You and Paul Blart:Mall Cop. Both entertaining. Coraline is back in 3D theaters, worth a look. And if you can't get enough of dysfunctional, violent super heroes check out Watchmen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wrestling With Angels:Tony Kushner

Angels In America has become one of my favorite dramatic works. From time to time, people share tidbits with me about its wordsmith, Tony Kushner. I was happy to find a film that shares even more about the man. The documentary, Wrestling with Angels:Playwright Tony Kushner, is an insight to Kushner's art, his process, his family, his loves, his passions. An interesting, warm, brilliant man. I think of him every time I visit Bethesda Fountain in NYC, and now he has been in my living room. A treat.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wow in DVD

As I went down the list of films out in DVD this week, I kept saying "wow"! Eight of the best and brightest films of 2008 are available to rent. Nobel Son is in my DVD que.
Click on the titles below to see what I thought when I saw them. All solid films.

Role Models
Rachel Getting Married
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Cadillac Records
Synecdoche, New York
Let the Right One In


Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Class

When I was fresh out of college, I was a teacher. The position was at a small private school. I taught math and science for grades 7-10. It was challenging and rewarding. Watching the French film The Class, I was reminded of those years. The intricate moments of a confrontation, the camaraderie of the staff, the difficult moments with parents. This film examines it all. Well done.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Having little to no knowledge of the graphic novel, Watchmen, was looking to be a plus for me going into the film. As this week unfolded, I read review after review of fans of the book, that were sorely disappointed in the movie. This only encouraged me, figuring I would be able to take the film on it's own merit. The reality of Watchmen is that it is the story of damaged souls. Superheroes with issues. The characters are complex, the story really takes a back seat. I liked the characters, the acting, the cinematography, the effects, the colors, the music, the satire. OK, I liked this film. Kinda feeling for the fan boys. The guys that sat in front of me called it "interesting". Made me a little sad, as they seemed disappointed. An interesting companion film recommendation I received, from a few of my reviewers, is the film Mystery Men. Rented it today, stay tuned ......

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 3/6/09

Watchmen is here! Opening in RI theaters, is the adaptation of the popular graphic novel. Superheroes abound. I have not read the book, so I'm looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. Also new to RI theaters is the Oscar nominated, French film The Class. My weekend is booked. Other offerings include Slumdog Millionaire, He's Just Not That Into You, Coraline, Taken, The Reader, Paul Blart:Mall Cop, Doubt, Milk, The Wrestler and Gran Torino. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Aussies and Aunts in DVD

In DVD release this year is the French film, I've Loved You So Long. Two sisters are reunited, and the reason for their separation slowly unfolds. Excellent drama. Also out is the epic drama, Australia. This should be a satisfying rental.

Monday, March 02, 2009

This Is Spinal Tap 25 years Later

Twenty five years ago, four young men put their cheeky on, and mocked the world of rock. Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Mike McKean and Harry Shearer created a satire for a generation. This Is Spinal Tap is a sensation and enjoys a cult following.

As a volunteer driver for the Newport Film Festival,I have had the privilege of meeting some interesting film folks. In the summer of 2005, I was assigned to drive Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer for two days, TWO DAYS! I was already a huge fan of Guest's films. The guys were in town to support McKean as the man of the year for the festival. He and his charming wife, Annette O'Toole were in town all week hosting a retrospective of films make by the group. McKean is funny, charming, generous, hansom and thoughtful. The guys were performing in the afternoon at the Newport Blues Cafe. I was to take them to their sound check, an awards ceremony, dinner, a Q&A for This is Spinal Tap and the closing night party. The more reserved of the three, Guest was polite and patient with all the hubbub. A quiet, smart, charming man (Jamie Lee is a lucky woman). On Sunday, I got a call saying that Guest wanted me to show him Newport. He wanted to do a little sight seeing and pick up a few gifts for his family. We spent the afternoon wandering the docks, boat yards and shops of Newport. We chatted, kids, travel, fishing, never a mention of his films. He made fun of crazy shoes in a trendy shop. I had to walk outside because I was laughing so hard at his comments. I encouraged him to buy a funky pair for his daughter, I hope she liked them. Though all three men are very talented actors, writers, comics and musicians, they are very unassuming, yet hilarious when they are all together. In a local Cold Stone, McKean pulled out his Lenny Kosnowski voice for a startled clerk who was dealing with a difficult customer. Disarming the situation with comedy - priceless. In a Q&A after the set at the Blues Cafe, the boys said they were over the makeup and wigs from their Spinal Tap days. Somehow, someone prevailed, and they have taken on a revamped version for Vanity Fair and charity. UPDATE: Schedule for the Unwigged & Unplugged tour has been announced!

I feel fortunate to have met these talented men and am so appreciative of the performances they have brought to the stage and screen. Very cool stuff, and a very special encounter for me. Happy anniversary to This Is Spinal Tap! Thanks guys!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dear Zachary:A Letter to a Son About His Father

A film tribute to Andrew Bagby, starts out looking like a love letter for Zachary Turner, so he would know the father who died before he knew him. The bizarre story of Bagby's murder by a former lover who had his child, is a compelling documentary. What starts out as a sweet tribute to a nice man, turns into a murder/suicide story. It tells the sickening story of a justice system that totally failed an innocent child and his family. Sad story, good documentary.