Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Band Called Death

When the name of your band is Death, you limit your marketability. In the documentary A Band Called Death we meet the Hackney brothers who formed a band in the early 70s and called it Death. When record executives told them their music was great, but change the name, they refused. As a result, the masters for an album sat in an attic storage box for over 30 years. You will need to see the film to find out what happens next. It is surprising, it is uplifting, it is heartwarming. This is a documentary worth seeing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fruitvale Station

In 2009 a young man was shot by police in an out-of-control situation in a BART Station in California. The days before this event are depicted in the film Fruitvale Station. The life of Oscar Grant is crystallized in a series of scenes showing his positive and negative attributes. This is a well structured film, the performances are excellent and the story is compelling. There is a movement to bring positive attitudes to force, prejudice, bullying and social injustice behind this film. Well worth seeing.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ain't in it for My Health

I was a child of the 60s. I grew up on pop music on the radio. I knew the songs, but not much about the artists. Many of the artists of that era have been the subjects of documentary films over the last decade or so, and it is a wonderful way to learn more about the artists from that pre-technology period. The film Ain't in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm focuses on Levon Helm, drummer for The Band. It takes place during the release and tour of his last album, with flashbacks to his earlier career. When I saw the film The Last Waltz, I was reminded of The Band's hits, and what a big part of that early rock scene they were. This film shows Helm as a sweet, intense man who loved his craft. He also loved his farm in up-state NY. He insisted that footage of him doing donuts on his tractor be in the film. The touring and the business had taken a toll on him physically, yet he continued to write and perform. This was a nice peek behind the curtain at an artist who loved his family, his farm, his music and his life.

Only God Forgives

Every once in a while I see a film that I don't get until I've thought about it for a day or so. Only God Forgives is one of those films. Pensive, violent, bloody, beautiful, this film takes it's time telling a simple story of crime and vengeance. Truly an art film.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Conjuring

I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to paranormal activity, so when I heard of The film The Conjuring, I dismissed it. Then I started reading the reviews. Film folks I trust were saying that this film was well done. Then I learned that the film is based on the history of a house here in RI, so I decided to check it out. I was impressed with the story, the production value and the acting. The suspense is well structured and gives you the creeps in just the right way. Happy to see it do well at the box office, this is a strong film.


My Grandsons' love of movies has been nurtured. Their family holds Family Movie Nights and seeing a movie in the theater is a special treat. They have been taught how to behave in the theater and they are only 2 and 4. On their most recent visit to RI we went to see the movie Turbo as a family. The boys love race cars and all things crawly and silly. Turbo fit the bill. Every once in a while I would look down the row to see how they were doing, and they were engrossed in the movie, munching away on their popcorn. This movie-lovin' Lili was pretty happy. I thought Turbo was a lot of fun. Your basic underdog story with a little tweak. The kids loved it. Family fun!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Way Way Back

I have been a fan of Sam Rockwell and his work for many years. This spring I had the pleasure of running into him at Tribeca Film Festival after the screening of his film A Single Shot. He was charming, friendly and sweet. I became even more enamored with the actor. In The Way Way Back, Rockwell plays a water park manager with the same charm I experienced in person. The entire cast in this coming of age film is outstanding. The story of a teenage boy trapped on summer vacation with his Mother and her new boyfriend is very genuine and heartfelt. This is one of the best films I've seen this year. Worth a look.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Movie 43

Do you want outrageous? Do you want funny? Do you want raunchy? Give Movie 43 a look. Crazy anthology film I rented on Peter Farrelly's recommendation. You can tell that the multiple directors and dozens of stars had a lot of fun with this insane comedy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The East

Brit Marling should be very proud of The East. A tight little thriller that follows the rebel group "The East" and the agency looking to take them down. It gets real, it gets personal. This movie is not perfect, but I liked it.