Friday, August 29, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
The story told in the film Magic in the Moonlight is absurd. A famous, pompous a magician tries to debunk a woman posing as a psychic. He becomes smitten, and she falls for him. That is the absurd part. There was a twist I liked and the performances were great, but what a ridiculous turn of events.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
The concept of a future with no feelings is explored in The Giver. The concept is transmitted well with black and white. This world is presented as utopian and sanitary, but becomes increasingly creepy as The Receiver becomes more aware of the truth. A wonderful cast takes on a tricky story.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Calvary is an interesting take on human drama. After his wife's death, a man becomes a priest in a small Irish village. His life is threatened and he has a week to get his affairs in order. Reflecting on his life and priorities with the help of family and friends takes many an interesting turn. Brendan Gleeson is outstanding in this film.
The post traumatic stress of British soldiers held in Japanese railroad work camps, is explored in The Railway Man. The true story of Eric Lomax and his fellow soldiers, is a war story not often told. The fact that Lomax was able to confront his captor after the war and what happens from there is mind-blowing to me. Wonderful performances all around telling a fascinating story. If you watch this on DVD it is worth watching the making-of documentary. Well done.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
The opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy sets the tone of swagger and humor for an outer space adventure. A band of space-heroes defend the Galaxy against the bad guys with super powers, tenacity, big weapons and sarcasm. Chris Pratt emerges as a worthy hero. He and Groot make the film. Flashy and funny, this one even manages a bit of sentiment without getting sappy. A fun ride!
Saturday, August 09, 2014
There is a quiet beauty in watching a life unfold. In Boyhood we follow a young man growing up. He has his struggles, he has his triumphs. Many of the moments are just life moments all of us deal with at one time or another. Director Richard Linklater made this film using the same actors for 12 years. As we watch lives unfold, we watch people age, we watch people change. The kids' changes are the most dramatic, and the adults show a lot of grace as they age. The script is engaging and there is some wonderful acting here. Music is used to set the eras and mood. Filmed in Texas, the setting adds to the tone of the story. An ambitious project that has given us a real cinematic gem.
Friday, August 08, 2014
The coming of age film can be quite entertaining. In Ping Pong Summer we have all the classic ingredients. The struggling hero, the nerd, the bully, the hot girl, the weird parents, the eccentric old person. Though each of these characters are presented in a traditional fashion, each of them is just a bit off center. That was where I found the entertainment. The story culminates with a ping pong showdown with a predictable, yet satisfying outcome. A cute film that was worth a look.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
On early reading, I thought Cheap Thrills was a version of Jackass. As it was more critically acclaimed, I became more curious. Renting the film, I learn it is a thriller and a very, very dark comedy. Two men, desperate for money, run into a crazy man with lots of dough and a perverse sense of how to spend it. He challenges the men to do outrageous things for money for the entertainment of he and his wife. The moral dilemmas combined with desperation give us some pretty depraved scenes. The performances are great, but they do a lot of gross stuff in this film all for the almighty dollar. I kept watching to find out what happened to the characters. Black comedy at its darkest. And OMG that ending. Good film.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
As I get older and, in turn, my parents as well, films like Wrinkles really hit home. This animated Spanish film is honest, poignant and sometimes funny. The story follows a man to an old age home and explores the realities of that lifestyle with gloves-off. It explores family, friendship, sexuality, health and freedom in the later years of life. Beautifully drawn, this film hit a lot of raw emotions for me, but the end made me smile. Lovely film.
Saturday, August 02, 2014
When a remastered version of A Hard Day's Night was released, I realized that I'd never seen the film. Bits and clips here and there, but never the film in its entirety. I missed it in theaters, so I rented it. What a fun film! As a child of the 60s, every song stirred a memory and it struck me that I was watching a charming, silly, long, lovely music video. I'm so glad I saw this film. What a pleasure!