Saturday, October 31, 2015
There is a drama and formula to sports films, especially boxing. Southpaw is no different, but there are a few creative licenses exercised. Camera angles and plot points give this story a little edge and a lot of heart. The comeback story is an old one, but one I enjoy quite a bit.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Watching the cliche opening action sequences in Spy brought a smile to my face. This film is very self-aware and does a great job spoofing spy-culture. The writing is sharp and Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne are hilarious in this. Great rental.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
At the start of the film The Little Death, I thought the film would simply be about sexual kinks, but it is so much more. The stories of five couples exploring their kinks is clever and rather funny. The running gag cracked me up and I ended up liking this film much more than expected.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Real life drama is plentiful when people fight for their rights. The quest for equality between races and gender are age-old. In Freeheld we see the story of a woman with a terminal illness who tries to have her pension benefits transferred to her domestic partner, as they would be for a heterosexual couple. The fight is well fought and the relationship between the two women and their community is honest and loving. This is a film I wish more people would see and take to heart.
Listening to people talk about the film Bridge of Spies, I feel like you may have had to live through the Cold War to get the depth of the drama in this story.The true story of the trade of a Russian spy for American soldier and a student is well done. It is amazing to me how much is done in secret in the world. The cinematography is great and the tone of the time is captured well. Some are calling this film old fashioned, I'd say that authentic is more accurate.
Friday, October 16, 2015
I grew up with the Disney animated and Rogers and Hammerstein versions of Cinderella. Sweet, musical and happily ever after. In the latest live-action version of Cinderella we get a darker version of the tale.The more I think about it, the more I like it. Definitely more to the relationships and motivations of the characters. Not sure the little ones would like this, but I could see older kids appreciating more thought in this story.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Call Me Lucky starts like a documentary about comedy. We meet Barry Crimmins as a young comic and follow the path of his career. Then the film takes a turn and tells a completely different story about Barry's childhood that is horrifying. He explains how he copes and advocates. This is a very brave film.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Mobsters are basically human monsters. No regard for life or the law. In Black Mass the life of Whitey Bulger is the centerpiece. Violence and street justice abound. The film and performances are fine, but hearing a Boston accent coming out of Benedict Cumberbatch was a lot to digest. This is a decent film.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
I think I have never heard of anyone as brave as Malala Yousafzai.In the documentary He Named Me Malala we meet a teenager who was shot by the Taliban and survived, left the country under threat of death and lives a life as a champion of education for girls. She has won the Nobel Peace Prize and travles the world spreading her message. She is 18. The film tells her story with interviews and animation. I really liked this inspiring, creative film.
Drug trafficking is a harsh reality on the Mexican border. In Sicario we are taken into that world and everything that is unpleasant about it. Even those trying to stop the activity must resort to thug-like behavior in this undeclared war. This film is dark and intense. Stays with you.
I have always loved the idea of space travel. The romantic thought of adventure in the galaxy is appealing to me. But when you think of how hostile the environment of space is, the bloom is off the rose. I have never understood why anyone wants to go to the moon or other planets when it is cold, no gravity, no food, no air, in short, you can die there. I have especially thought this of Mars because it takes so long to get there, and for what? While watching The Martian all I could think is, this is why humans should not go there. The story of an astronaut accidentally abandoned on Mars has thrills, science and humor. Well written and well acted with a harrowing ending. Cool film.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
I have had cocktails on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. I have met Phillippe Petit. I think of the man outside the building at dizzying heights and I shudder. This is the reason I could not watch the documentary Man On Wire at the film festival where I met this charming man. He convinced me that I could handle the movie and encouraged me to watch. Years later, when I saw the first trailers for The Walk, Robert Zemeckis' version of this lunatic feat, all I could do is smile. The bonus? It would be in IMAX 3D. They were going to put the audience on the wire as well. I was thrilled! I am fascinated with this story for the obvious reason of the magnitude of the accomplishment of a man walking a high wire strung between the two towers of the World Trade Centers. The other is the time capsule of watching how easy it was to move around the world back in the mid-70s. Though the narration from the top of the Statue of Liberty was a but cheesy, it grounded you back to lower Manhattan in the midst of the caper. I had heard that there was a touching ending, but was not quite prepared for my reaction. I had to sit in the theater for a while after the film to pull myself together. I loved this film. I loved the effects. I loved the spirit. Merci Monsieur Petit, Monsieur Gordan-Levitt et Monsieur Zemeckis. Well done.
In the continuing theme of older characters in film I saw The Intern. Nancy Meyers applies her light touch to the interesting prospect of a Senior Intern program at a booming company. Anyone over 50 today has experienced an mazing amount of technical change in our lifetime. Some find it overwhelming, some embrace it. In the end people are still people and all the technology in the world won't change that. Good performances and a satisfying ending made this a good film for me.
Losing a child is devastating. Losing a child to a drive by shooting is incomprehensible. When the police don't seem to give a shit Lila & Eve take matters into their own hands. They do their own investigating and retaliation. I liked the twist in this film.
Friday, October 09, 2015
As we age, we have to deal with the balance of limitations and independence. In Manglehorn a man still runs his own business, takes care of his cat and even tries to date. He is faced with challenges, but pushes forward and deals with situations when he stumbles. Another mature performance from Al Pacino. I thought this was a good rental.
Sunday, October 04, 2015
When I attended a panel with Brad Bird at Tribeca Film Festival in April, he announced that a special edition of The Iron Giant would be released in theaters in the fall. All I could think was that I wanted to take my grandsons who love the film as much as I do. 200 miles and busy schedules had me thinking that would never happen. Then Eli's birthday party got scheduled for the 3rd and The Iron Giant was playing on the 4th. Tickets were bought, I was one happy grandma. Seeing this for the first time on the big screen was pretty awesome and the kids were wide-eyed. It had been a while since we had seen the film, maybe a year or so. Even though it was familiar, it felt fresh as well. There was trivia before the film, extra scenes and a peek at a new documentary after the credits. As we walked out of the theater Miles delivered the ultimate compliment, "I want to watch that again, right now!" It was a great time at the movies with my favorite cinephiles.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
The thriller Cop Car starts out as a harmless joy ride for two young boys. The situation disintegrates quickly when the cop comes back for the car and the chase is on. There are plenty of bad guys and violence. The boys are rather charming. This is a decent crime film.