Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wild at Heart

Opening with a very violent scene, Wild at Heart sets the tone for the crazy road trip of a young girl in love with an excon. There are pronouncements of love and hate amid scenes of violence and graphic sex. A bizarre ride from David Lynch with many outstanding performances.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Brother from Another Planet

A young Joe Morton brings a lot of heart to The Brother from Another Planet from 1984. This film was recommended on social media and because I respect the film taste of the person recommending it, and I love Joe Morton, this was an easy sell. Morton's character arrives in Harlem from outer-space with no language skills. Which makes his navigation of Manhattan interesting and sometimes humorous. On anther amusing note, he is being pursued by two bounty hunters from the cosmos who are great comic relief. The "brother" has a lot of heart and explores our world like a visitor to the zoo. He is calm and kind and grows as the story progresses.I really liked this film. Worth watching.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

I love shoes. To be able to watch a documentary about the man who makes some of the most beautiful shoes in the world, Manolo Blahnik, was a real treat. In the documentary Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards he is called "the Godfather of Soles." It traces his love of designing footwear and the history of his collections. A documentary for lovers of pretty things and interesting creators. Well done.

Mute

I heard Mute called "the neon sci-fi movie" which is very accurate. Aside from the fact that this film has a look that just won't quit, neither does the story. A thriller with some futuristic themes mixed with present-day issues, to say too much would be spoiling. I will say I liked this film. I wish it had been available in theaters because it is so pretty. I'm just glad that Netflix gave Duncan Jones the opportunity to get this film made. Worth the wait.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night is a classic boy meets girl, girl is not available, boy and girl are forced to spend time together, boy and girl fall in love, girl runs away, boy follows, happy ending. The details in between and the performances are whet make this film an Oscar winner. Well written, creatively filmed and very well acted. A classic worth watching.

California Typewriter

The typewriter was an essential tool for any writer when I was growing up. I cherished the one that was given to me as a graduation gift when I finished high school. I typed many a paper on it in college. Erasable paper was my friend. In the documentary California Typewriter the love for the machine is profiled. The collectors are the most fascinating. Made me wish I still had my typewriter. An interesting history. An interesting film.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rebel in the Rye

I am finding post-war authors to be a dour lot. The film Rebel in the Rye chronicles J.D. Salinger's writing career. He is enthusiastic and motivated before he has to serve in the war. The war traumatizes him and he struggles to return to his writing. It is kind of amazing that Catcher in the Rye was written. An interesting story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Icarus

Doping in athletics is the subject in the film Icarus.The science and process of drug testing athletes is explained and probed. The scientist in the film gets caught up in the Russian doping scandal and science meets thriller. Quite a ride.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Strong Island

When a young man is murdered in Long Island, the case is never prosecuted. In the documentary Strong Island his family tells the tale. The story of the family is documented carefully and lovingly in this talking head film. Powerful story.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Breadwinner

In my quest to see as many Oscar nominated films as I can, the Providence Children's Film Festival once again helped me out with a screening of a film nominated for animated feature. The Breadwinner is the story of a young girl in Afghanistan whose father is unjustly jailed by the Taliban. Left with her Mother and sister, she cuts her hair and dresses like a boy so she can go out in public alone to acquire water and food for her family. Themes of courage and oppression are heightened in this story. After the film, students from a local school read essays they had written after reading the book this film is based on. Heartening to see young people express themselves in empathy to the character's story. A nice film experience.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The story of the shlubby lawyer is not new, but in Roman J. Israel, Esq. the story has a good twist. Denzel Washington rocks the Afro and bad suits in the beginning of the film to emphasize Roman's transformation as the story progresses. This was a quirky film I liked.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Blade Runner 2049

I did not care for the original Blade Runner movie so it was no surprise that Blade Runner 2049 underwhelmed me as well. The sequel was almost as boring as the first, though it got more interesting in the second half. I get the nominations for visual Academy Award categories, but could not get into the story at all. Glad I didn't waste 3 hours in the theater with this one. I love DVD!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

In the financial crisis of 2008 a lot of banks got away with a lot. In Abacus: Small Enough to Jail we learn of the only one that went to trial. This documentary follows the 5 year trial of a small family run bank in Chinatown in NYC. The viewer is left to its own conclusions of why. Interesting film.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Wonder

The movie Wonder is a good take on bullying, family and friendship.When a young boy with facial deformities enters public school for the first time in 5th grade, we see the typical and predictable reactions of the kids he encounters. How it's handled, and how it plays out is interesting and effective. It also addresses the effect on the whole family. This is a good film and I'm happy to hear that schools are using it and the book it is based on to teach empathy. Well done.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

The Oscar nominated short films are compiled to feature length programs. I saw the animated program today. It is an interesting assortment of films.

Love Basketball - Pencil drawings come to life in a self-narrated ode to basketball by Kobe Bryant. Lyrical and nice to watch. A love letter.

Garden Party - A bizarre scene unfolds from the perspective of frogs at an abandoned mansion...or so it seems. Funny with a jarring ending.

Lou - The items of a Lost & Found box take on a life of their own to address a bully on a playground. Pixar's magic is fun to watch here.

Negative Space - The strategies of packing a suitcase give a young boy an interesting perspective when faced with the end of life.

Revolting Rhymes - A Rahl Dahl twist on a classic fairy tale with a dark tone and great animation.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Come From Away

This winter's Broadway show for me was Come From Away. The story of planes grounded by the events of 9/11 in Gandor, Newfoundland Canada had excellent reviews and Tony nominations. I was not prepared for the heart, the talent and the creative genius of this show. 12 actors, 12 chairs and 2 tables surrounded by massive tree trunks were the only things on the stage. They represented a town, an airplane, a bus, a bar and more. The choreography and fluidity of the show kept the audience engaged for 90 minutes without a break in song or action. If you get a chance to see this show go! I'm sure glad I did.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

I, Daniel Blake

In I, Daniel Blake the social services system in the UK gives little help to Daniel Blake when he cannot work because he has had a heart attack. He wants to work, but his doctor says no, so he turns to the system for help. There are challenges in technology and processes. Thankfully, he befriends a person who is also struggling with the system.Together, they sort through their dilemmas with friendship. This is a good film with a not-so-happy ending, but I liked it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

LBJ

I enjoyed the play and movie All the Way, so I thought LBJ would be a good next film for me. This version of the time period after JFK's assassination is interesting, but not as intense. The performances are adequate impersonations, but everyone is walking through the events. OK historical film.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Disaster Artist

As part of My Oscar Project I had to find The Disaster Artist. Not an easy task because it played in RI months ago. Traveling to Boston, I discovered The Somerville Theatre. I found a quaint New England theater with a lot of history and a ton of character. Worth the ride. The film was much better than I expected. The story of Tommy Wiseau's creation of the infamous film The Room, is told from the perspective of his best friend Greg Sestero, based on Sestero's book. This is a story of determination, friendship and loyalty with a dash of delusion. Good film.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Greatest Showman

P.T. Barnum was a historic entertainer, earning the moniker The Greatest Showman, the name of the movie I saw today. The story of his early days in show business are interesting and it is appropriately presented as a musical. The music is good, the performances work. Not the best ever, but certainly entertaining.

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Square

Emotions in The Square run from hope to despair. When the characters try, they fail. If something can go wrong it will. The characters muddle through this creative, bizarre story set in the art world. At times it is amusing, at others unsettling. A very interesting film, with a cool to look.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Last Flag Flying

In Last Flag Flying three men who served together in Vietnam are faced with one of their son's death. The father wants to take the boy's body back to NH to bury him near his mother. The escort who travels with them is the boy's friend and adds details to his time in service. Those details are wrapped up nicely at the end. I liked this film, one of the Marines is over the top and the father is super subdued. This was a decent rental.