Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I was cynical when I heard about a horror story where the character gets turned into a walrus. How is this a horror film? In Tusk we experience an abduction - abuse story. Yes, the villain is bat-shit crazy. As wacky as this story is, I enjoyed it because of the performances. Not bad.
If you don't think food is competitive, then you have not been watching reality TV or The Hundred-Foot Journey. When restaurants battle for the coveted Michelin stars, a star chef emerges. We follow his journey, inspiration and loves. A good story about choices, loyalty, family and love. Good film.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Being single at age 58, the romantic in me found Elsa & Fred very charming and hopeful. Living out their Golden Years, two people meet, fall in love and live out a dream. They deal with day to day life and family with grace and a sense of humor. This is a very sweet film.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
One of my Christmas presents this year was an evening in the Broadway theater. This Is Our Youth was the play of choice.The small cast of Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson bring Kenneth Lonergan's play to the stage. Taking place in the period of 48 hours, decisions are made in young lives filled with turmoil, failure and success. Funny, poignant and electric, we watch the three characters bounce off each other with dramatic resonance. A great night on Broadway.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
When Mike Nichols passed away, I was reminded of when I went on a jag to see all of his films. Revisiting his filmography I realized that I had not seen Wolf. The story of a man, attacked by a wolf and then showing wolf-like tendencies himself as he struggles to keep his job and his life, is pretty entertaining. The star power and special effects are impressive. I really liked this film.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
When a wacko tells his own story it is compelling and a bit scary. In the documentary The Dog, John Wojtowicz has no trouble telling the story of his sexual compulsions, lifestyle and robbery that was the subject of the film Dog Day Afternoon. Fascinating story.
Friday, December 19, 2014
When Robin Wright is told her career can benefit from digital image capture, she reluctantly takes the deal. In The Congress she shoots forward 20 years to see how her image is used and affects the art and culture. This is conveyed in animation. This film is trippy and creative. Wild concept.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
To sit in the uncomfortable situation of a complicated relationship is hard. Watching Force Majeure is just that. The aftermath of a traumatic experience is put under the microscope and we watch. It is not pretty. This film says a lot about relationships and how we deal when our expectations are not met. The structure of the film gave me a "what would I do?" feel. Interesting film.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Thoughtful movies that tackle sensitive subjects can have big payoffs. In the quirky film Frank, we meet a damaged young man finding coping methods in his music and performance.The angst of young adult artists find their way is interesting and funny at times. In the end, we learn that Frank's situation is a good reason to have compassion toward all. Good film.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
It is no secret that I love a good music documentary. In Made in America, Ron Howard introduces us to artists I have heard of, but knew little of beyond the gossip pages.The setting is Jay-Z's Made in America music festival. We get perspectives from artists, neighbors, crew and vendors. The emphasis is the art, and what it takes to put on an event of this scope. Really good!
Sunday, December 07, 2014
I don't usually watch horror movies because I don't really appreciate the genre. This week a lot of buzz went up around The Babadook so I went on a mission to find it in a local theater. The Coolidge Corner Theater has a small screening room with 14 seats which they showed this in. I sat up close and personal with the creepy character and frightening story. Crafted well enough that, walking back to my car in broad daylight, I was suspicious of every noise I heard behind me. Well done.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
When you see Guierlmo del Torro's name attached to a film, take notice. Even if its animated. The Book of Life is enchanting, colorful, joyful, adventurous and romantic. This fanciful journey to the Land of the Forgotten and The Land of the Remembered is punctuated by pop songs, humor and love. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Video technology matured in the late 70s and early 80s. I had forgotten how that technology changed our media consumption until I watched Rewind this! It also changed our lifestyle and viewing habits with the ability to record shows to watch later and brought the big screen into our living rooms. It also reminded me of the ease to record with the invention of the camcorder. Home movies made easy and accessible. This film is a good history lesson.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
When I was a kid, a live broadcast of the play Peter Pan was on TV. In those days we did not go to the movies much, so most of our media consumption was on TV. Annual events were The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. Last year, NBC enjoyed ratings success with a live version of The Sound of Music and this year decided that Peter Pan would be the live offering. Peter Pan Live! brought the boy who won't grow up to living rooms again, with a fresh cast and a few new songs. Allison Williams did a good job playing Pan, especially the singing. Christopher Walken was a laid back Captain Hook. I think the lost boys, pirates and other supporting cast were outstanding. I also liked the way this was staged. Bravo to all!
The story of Sleeping Beauty has had several versions, the latest of which is entitled Maleficent. The focus is moved from the princess to the fairy. Angelina Jolie is enchanting as Maleficent. Elle Fanning is effervescent as Aurora. There are a few details that are different from the story I remember, but they add dimension and make sense. The costumes and special effects are excellent. Nice job.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Steven Hawking is best known for his brain and theories. In the Theory of Everything we get his wife Jane's view of his life, his illness, their love, their struggles, their family, their joy and getting by. the science is way over my head, but the determination and love are easy to understand. Interesting people.