Saturday, December 31, 2005


Take Spielberg's masterful film style, add Tony Kuschner's prose, and you have a powerful film in Munich. Assassins are stalking, and killing the people responsible for the hostage taking, and deaths at the 1972 Olympics. There are consequenses for these actions, and the characters pay the price. Eric Bana and a strong supporting cast, give a riveting portrayal of post-Munich revenge. Notable are the characters potrayed by Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush. Consistent and deadly, they make this an emotional ride.

King Kong

The epic film lives in King Kong! Peter Jackson's dream is on screen for all to see!! The man has imagination, vision and technical expertise down to a science. A stellar cast, a classic story and amazing special effects make this cinema at it's best. The original film made it's way on to my "favorites" list in the summer of 2004, a simple story, well executed back in 1933. Though longer than it needs to be, Jackson does the story true with this version. Naomi Watts needs no dialogue to make the bond between Kong and Ann Darrow come alive. One of the most consistent modern actresses, Watts IS the film ... incredible performance!! Be ready for action (Brontosaurus stampede), heroes (Kong vs T-Rex and biplanes) and rivalry (Brody vs Kong, yikes!!) A wonderful film experience for me!!

Power of the Trailer

I enjoy movie trailers. They are like a keyhole look to new film. I was surprised at the trailers I saw today. The Davinci Code looks true to novel, MI3 looks exciting (huh?) and Miami Vice looks way cool!!! Color me surprised, here's looking to good film for 2006!!

Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Viewing

New Year's weekend is my favorite movie weekend. Plenty of time, no commitments and lots of great film in theaters. I'll be seeing a monkey, a geisha, a squid, a whale,terrorisits and producers, but here are a few films I've already seen that I really enjoyed. Click the links to see what I thought!!

In theaters: Walk the Line, Good Night and Good Luck, Jarhead, Syriana, Pride and Predjudice,A History of Violence, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Rentals: Mad Hot Ballroom, Murderball, Cinderella Man, War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Crash,Batman Begins, Mr& Mrs Smith

Have a wonderful weekend of film and HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Gift of Film

I am very fortunate to have friends and family that acknowledge my film hobby. Along with gift cards to local cinema, for Christmas I received the box set of the Godfather films and the mini-series Angels in America. I am very grateful for the generosity and thoughtfulness. I also received a few books about film, one is a biography reference of film folk, great source material. I also received a film trivia game that has exposed my son in law's amazing film recall!!

Thanks to my generous gift givers for the many hours of film fun!!

Saturday, December 24, 2005


It's official, I think I have become a music documentary junkie!! I rented the DVD DiG! based on a recommendation in Premire magazine, and the fact that we had the film at the Newport Film Festival. This is a film about rock bands that have the talent, but struggle with the business. As I am not very creative, I am fascinated with any insight to the creative process. Music is one of those forms that lends itself to exposing that process. As with all art, there is the creation, then the selling. Can you make a living pursuing your art!?!? All the angst and drama involved in the process are portrayed in this film. It was a great film experience for me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

2005 the Year in Celebrity

As 2005 comes to a close, we see a lot of reflections on the past year. With my scurrying around to get Christmas shopping done, and visiting with friends and family, I have not been to the movies in weeks. I still have a handful of films to see before I can make a "best of" list for 2005, so I thought I would reflect on the film folks I have met in 2005.

I attend the Tribeca Film Festival and Newport Flim Festival. This was the 4th year for both, and I have refined my techniques of attendance. At Tribeca I am an attendee, it is my vacation. I plant myself at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Tribeca for a week, makes it easy to walk to the films and activities. This year I had the pleasure of running into Snoop Dogg, Danny Green, Dylan McDermott, Sydney Lumet,Frank Pierson, Tim Robbins, Seymour Cassel and Bill Plympton. I also got a kick out of overhearing a bunch of LA film folk discuss the filming of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (they dropped a half-million dollar lens in the chocolate river!).

I volunteer at the Newport Film Festival. Working for the transportation folks, I was assigned to drive Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer the weekend of the festival. I also took Guest on a tour of Newport one afternoon, to see the sights and pick up a few souvenirs for his family. We talked boats, kids, fishing, history ... no film talk. Interesting man. I also met Michael McKean, Annette O'Toole and Nick Nolte, all were charming and friendly. Working at the transportation desk I get to meet a lot of the film people that attend with their films. Aside from the big Hollywood guns I met, my favorite was Jeff Mandel, one of the producers of the film Murderball. He was polite, friendly and happy to be there. He had a million questions, and when he asked me if he was my biggest pain that day, I told him , no, he was around number 4. For the rest of the week, when he would call me he would identify himself as #4 ...loved him!!! I also met the cast of Mad Hot Ballroom at a Gala for the film festival, took a turn on the dance floor with Rodney Lopez, which was a thrill!

So that was 2005 in celebrity for me. I find film people very interesting, and this year they did not disappoint. We'll see what 2006 holds!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Golden George

With the announcement of the Golden Globe nominees, award season is in full swing. All of the film nominees are so deserving. This was not a stellar year for film, but the best have risen to the top. I'll have trouble picking winners. With my film obsession, many people have told me I should be at the awards. My response has always been, "I only want to go if it's on the arm of a hot nominee". This would be my year! For many years, my movie crush has been George Clooney, he's nominated for 3 awards. So if George needs a date, I'm here by the phone, I can jump into a gown at any given moment. Congrats to all the nominees!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

A DVD Island

I like The Island, a sci-fi thriller from this summer. The press was odd, and it received lukewarm reviews. It's out in DVD this week, and I think it's worth a look.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The political thriller Syriana confirmed most of what I think of world economy and the power of the energy elements. Two oil companies are working a merge, and we see the underlying drama. The violence and manipulation is all ruled by the almighty dollar, none of this is very surprising. Human stories are interspersed, but it all comes back to money. An interesting film.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

As a child, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia. These were books I could read over and over. Four children accidentally discover a fantasy land, and adventure follows. When I was in college, I revisited Narnia when I had to read the books for a children's literature course, again I was enchanted. Now a film has been made of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia. It is a wonderful fantasy film for all ages (though the battle scenes may be a little intense for little ones). The writing is superb with some very clever dialog. The casting and acting fit well with the effects, which are impressive. Hard to tell where reality ends and fantasy begins. This is a timeless story that translates beautifully to the screen.


I find sports films inspiring, exciting and interesting. The documentary Murderball is a wonderful film. Elevating the visibility of paraplegic sports, specifically rugby, the film culminates at the 2004 Paralympics. This is a full contact, wheelchair version of rugby, that is exhilarating to watch, and carries all the drama, heart and politics of world class competition. The film made me laugh and cry. It's not only about the sport, but the life and heart of the athletes. This is a great film about coping, sports and love. The athletes are smart, funny, enthusiastic, honest, colorful and grounded. I truly loved this film ... well done!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cinderella Man in DVD and Theaters

I was surprised when the film Cinderella Man was released in June. A film of this quality is usually saved for the late December release, to get as much attention as possible for Oscar consideration. Then the celebrity factor kicked in. Russell Crowe, the star of the film, behaved badly in NYC on a PR tour. If you look beyond the gossip and bad behavior off camera, you will find a wonderful film. Well written, outstanding acting and beautifully shot. This is some of the best work I've seen out of Howard, Zellweger and Giamatti. I really hope more people see this film, out in DVD today. It is also being re-released to theaters in some areas. Well worth a look.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The fourth film installment of the Harry Potter franchise is the Goblet of Fire. This is, by far, the darkest, most serious of the Harry Potter films. Creepy and scary, it was very good, but I missed the fantasy and humor the previous 3 films provided. The actors still deliver, but the visual, to me, was not as dramatic as the past films.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Award Season Arrives

As the year winds down, film award nominations start to sprout like tulips in springtime!!! Nominees for the Gotham Awards and Independent Spirit Awards were announced this week. Independent film gets it's due, and it is a good source for recommendations of quality films. Click on the links, and check out some wonderful film at the theater or video store! Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

DVD Heats Up and Chills Out

First of all, The Muppet Movie is one of my all-time favorites! Kermit and the gang trek the US, adventure ensues!! What's better than muppets!?!?!?

Mr.&Mrs. Smith is a fun action romp. So much tongue in cheek humor, explosions and crazy chases, a good time!

March of the Penguins is the documentary darling so far this year. A wonderful insight to nature and it's endurance.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Through the film, Pride and Prejudice, all I could think was "beautiful". The cinematography, the prose, the delivery, all was so satisfying and so lovely. A stellar cast, and beautifully sarcastic script, make for entertaining film. A pleasure for anyone in search of a film with substance .. well done!!

Ice Harvest

The thriller Ice Harvest is a typical heist, double-triple cross film. Lots of blood and criminal angst. The reason to see it are the performances. The cast brings this story home. Oliver Platt is amazing, and John Cusack carries the film well.

Friday, November 25, 2005


My first thought leaving the movie Rent was ... "it was a pleasure". I became aware of the musical Rent through my daughter M. The soundtrack came into our home, our car and our lives. Jonathan Larson wrote a wonderful score, and a story of the lives of young bohemians, struggling to live in the East Village of NYC, circa late 80's. When M attended NYU, I walked the streets that embodied the musical. M's freshman year, she lived in the East Village. I probably would not qualify as a "Renthead", but I am a huge fan, have seen the musical twice (thanks L) and the CD gets a lot of play in the house and the car. This could be some of the best "sing in the car" music, ever.

The film is a true version of the stage show. There are a few subtle changes, that make the story easy to follow. A few songs are left out, but it does not compromise the story. All but two of the cast are original, and the replacements are wonderful. For this fan, it is amazing to watch the original cast perform on the big screen! I marveled at the consistency and quality of the performances. There was also an underlying joy that seemed to come from the piece and it's creator. I have read a lot about Jonathan Larson, and hope he looks down to see the joy and inspiration his work has brought his fans in the last 10 years. Chris Columbus and the cast bring us a wonderful adaptation of Rent, I can't wait to see it again, and own the DVD!! "Seasons of Love" is an understatement.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pieces of Thanksgiving

One of my favorite holiday-themed movies is Pieces of April. On Thanksgiving Day, we watch April prepare dinner for her family, who is coming from suburbia to NYC for this dinner. When we meet the family, we find out that April is the blacksheep of the family, and they are less thatn thrilled to be leaving the 'burbs to spend the day at, what they are sure will be, a disaster meal. An interesting road trip begins, and we periodically check in to the problems April has with her holiday prep. Poingnant and real, this film touches me.

This Thanksgiving, I took my first road trip to a meal outside of my tradition. Unlike April's family, I was excited to spend the day with M and J and my new son-in-law's family. The travel was smooth, the company a delight and the food, delicious!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

DVD Bonanza

There are all kinds of great offerings released to DVD this week!

War of the Worlds is Steven Spielberg's summer blockbuster that offers thrills and special effects galore.

Polar Express is a great holiday offering. This version is a crazy animated ride that will get you in the Christmas spirit.

The original King Kong has a new release, riding the coattails of the Peter Jackson remake due out next month. The classic film holds it's own, and proudly sits on my list of all time favorites.

And finally, Five Children and It is out in DVD. This is a charming British fantasy film, that is a tale of "be careful what you wish for". One of my all time favorites, Eddie Izzard, supplies the voice of "It" (a Henson creation), a fun film.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lights! Camera! Diner!

On my way home from work tonight, as I came up on the local diner, I saw police lights flashing, cones in the street, I thought there was a car accident. As I got closer, I saw the Beacon Diner lit up like day time, with movie cameras rolling!!! I slowed down to gawk, soaked in the moment. The RI film board has been courting Hollywood hard, and we have the film, Hard Luck, being made in the state for a few months. Mario Van Pebbles is directing, and Wesley Snipes and Cybill Shepherd are in the film. By the time I went home and got my camera and went back, the work was done and the lights turned off. It was very cool to have seen the bright lights of Hollywood, shining in Rhode Island!! PS (I went back the next night and got this shot, digital tecnology is amazing!)

Sunday, November 20, 2005


If you want a film with great acting and cinematography, check out Jarhead. The resume of Sam Mendes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard and Jamie Foxx brings an interesting look at Operation Dessert Storm. I've pretty much had it with war films (Saving Private Ryan and When We Were Soldiers wore me out), but the buzz about Gyllenhaal's performance took me to the theater ... I was not disappointed. This story is not political, it is not judgmental, it is human and honest. This film is true drama, and a look inside the soldiers' heads. Beautifully filmed and well written, this was a film I really enjoyed.

Chicken Little

The sky is falling!!! Or is it an alien invasion!??! The animated version of Chicken Little is a crazy modern satire, that mixes pop psychology with Orson Wells ... Spielberg style. Sound zany? Sound interesting? Sound fun? It is!!!! Chicken Little and his pals have a close encounter, and his Dad learns to believe in him on a crazy, alien ride. Some of the alien scenes may be a little intense for little ones, the little girl in front of me climbed into Mom's lap. The aliens looked just like Doc Oc (Spiderman 2) and War of the Worlds!! Fun stuff, I loved the modern depictions of the characters. Morcubine Porcupine was ultra-cool, and the glue of the film is Fish Out of Water (my fave)!!!


A desperate guitar player, turned gun slinger, seeks vengeance against a drug ring for killing his girlfriend. That said, Desperado is a bloody, shoot-em-up action film by Robert Rodriguez, who delights in explosions and gun fights. Antonio Banderas, Steve Buscemi and Salma Hayek let the blood and the bodies fly, as they try to stay one step ahead of the "bad guys".

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Walk the Line

The story of Johnny Cash in his early life, is poignant and conflicted. From his disapproving father, to the loss of his brother, to an empty first marriage, Walk the Line takes us through those years. June Carter is the rock and the light in his life, and he pursues her for quite a while. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon depict the couple beautifully, and as Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx (instrumentally) did in musical biopics last year, play and sing all the music themselves. Witherspoon even learned to play the autoharp for the film. Phoenix is especially impressive in imitating Cash's body movements and facial expressions.

Friday, November 18, 2005


As a huge fan of the TV series Bewitched, I was skeptical of a movie of the same name. Nora Ephron took a fresh approach, with a movie about a TV remake of the series. It is clever, refreshing, and properly laced with mortals and surprise witches. Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine and Nicole Kidman bring the credibility. Will Ferrel, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Chenoweth and Kidman deliver laughs, but it is Ephron who supplies the master story to this film. Relax, pop the popcorn and enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The documentary, Rize, goes inside the youth culture of South Central LA. There we find an alternative to gangs, in dance groups called Clowns. They work toward positive activities for kids, and have a form of dance called Krumping. Krumping is a high energy, aggressive form that is something to see. This is another documentary that has taken me to a world I would never know, otherwise. It's good to see young people, in a difficult, urban environment, try to overcome their surroundings with positive roll models and activities that keep them closer to school, church and family (what they have of it). An interesting film.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Skeleton Key and Madagascar on DVD

The animated film Madagascar comes out in DVD today. As I was strolling by the Central Park Zoo on Friday, I chuckled thinking of those crazy penguins!! This is a cute film for the kids.

For the grownups, Skeleton Key, is also out in DVD. This is a good thriller with an amazing ending!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Charlie and Chocolate in DVD

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released to DVD today. Tim Burton gives us a visual delight as he tells the story of Charlie and Willie Wonka. There are 5 "making of" featurettes, which I really enjoy. My personal behind the scene story, is overhearing film types talk about a half million dollar camera lens being dropped in the chocolate river during filming.... ouch!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Shopgirl is an interesting portrayal of modern romance. In one case, a young man falls for Mirabelle just on a chance meeting in a laundromat. In another, an older man takes a methodical, and effective approach to win her affections, but is not so ready to reciprocate. It is a bittersweet look at love and relationships. Claire Danes and Steve Martin give excellent performances.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


When I was in high school, I was obsessed with the book In Cold Blood. I read it over and over, carried it everywhere. I loved thrillers, and this was the first one I had read that was true. Capote's writing captured me, and set a standard for a lot of my reading. To this day, my favorite writers are journalists.

The film Capote is a riveting enactment of the years in Capote's life that were consumed by a murder in Kansas. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Baliban and Clifton Collins, transport us to the early 60's, and how these murders affected the writing of Capote's last full novel. This film was powerful for me, and portrayed one man's writing process and the effects on those close to him.

Hard Eight

I'm not sure how this film got on my DVD rental list, but I'm glad it did. Paul Thomas Anderson takes a protective old man, a hard luck guy and a desperate woman, and weaves them into a family. An old secret leads to violence and extortion. The script is sharp, and the cast works well. This is Anderson's first feature film, and a strong one at that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Millions in DVD

Two films I really enjoyed are out in DVD this week.

Millions is a morality tale that is funny and thought provoking. An entertaining film!

Heights is a relationship story that intertwines the characters in a surprising way.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


When I would tear up during the trailers of Dreamer, I knew I was in trouble. I celebrated the running of the Breeder's Cup this weekend, by seeing this heart-warming film. A wonderful cast, along with the beautiful horse, Sacrifice, bring a true sports story to life. This is the typical, "we're down, now we're up" story, but instead of being cliche, it felt real. The themes of family, friendship, loyalty, and perseverance are strong. The writing is excellent, the acting, outstanding, and this is the second film I've seen set in Kentucky this month!!! I love watching a dramatic come-from-behind horse race even if it is staged, this film does not disappoint. The animals are magnificent! This was a 2 tissue film for me, I really enjoyed it!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


The romantic comedy Prime is so much more. A drama that envelopes relationships, family and love. When a young woman falls into a rebound relationship with a younger man, the wonders and complexities of falling in love are all explored. The cast is amazing, newcomer Brian Greenberg (hottie) holds his own with Meryl Streep and Umma Thurman. This is the most realistic love story I've seen in a long time!!

Legend of Zorro

The Legend of Zorro continues the Zorro legacy. The swashbuckling, the romance, the chases, the good guys, the bad guys .... action film is alive and well!! So much tongue-in-cheek action, sit back and enjoy!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween Film Fun

With the Halloween weekend upon us I looked at film I have seen that is appropriate holiday viewing. I'm not big on slasher, horror films, but I like a good thriller. Joy Ride, Identity, Skeleton Key, Hide and Seek and Psycho pack a lot of suspense and have surreal twists. The character's of Halloween have been in a lot of films. The Harry Potter franchise is the ultimate wizard experience. The Witches of Eastwick and Practical Magic feature witches. Ghosts have their way in The Others, Sleepy Hollow, Sixth Sense, Gothika, Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice. Zombies can be found in Night of the Living Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn and Sean of the Dead (very funny). Van Helsing has just about every Halloween character imaginable, heavy on special effects, short on plot. Animation treats in Sprirted Away (not for little ones), Howl's Moving Castle, , Monsters, Inc., The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Vampires are well treated in Shadow of a Vampire and Interview with a Vampire. And then there is our old pal, the devil in The Exorcist, Devil's Advocate and Rosemary's Baby.

Pop the popcorn, turn out the lights, turn on the movie and have a spooktacular Halloween!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Classics and Newbees in DVD

All of the DVD releases that I've seen this week are classics. In the newbee corner, I am enthusiastically awaiting films like Melinda and Melinda, King of the Corner, Rize, Noel, Bewitched and Shortcut to Nirvana.

In the realm of the classics I've seen that come out in DVD today, we have a special edition of The Wizard of Oz. I have trouble thinking of The Wizard of Oz as a film. My childhood experience presented it to me as a TV show. Yes, commercials and all, this was an annual event in my house. Being the only girl in my family, and evidently an early film fan, all in the household were to sit quietly and watch, when the folks from Oz came into our home. sshhhhhhhh !!!!! I was enchanted by the experience year after year. I have to say, it took an adjustment when the film came out on video and my children could watch it, without interruption, over, and over, and over!!!!!

Another fun film story from the DVD vault this week, is a Looney Toon Golden Collection release. I met the wonderful Mel Blanc when I was in college. As the voice of many Looney Toon characters, he spoke to the communications majors about the industry, and at a meet and greet, became all that made him famous. In regular conversation, this lovely, elderly gentleman became, Bugs, Tweety, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and on and on, before my eyes! It was an evening I'll never forget!!

And not to forget another special release of what has quickly become a classic, Titanic has a new special edition out this week. This was a power player for the movie industry in the late nineties and I have many fond memories related to attending the film.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Good Night and Good Luck

I have not heard an audience applaud a film (outside of film festivals) since I saw Chicago. Spontaneous applause was the finale at a screening of Good Night and Good Luck today! This is the story of Edward R. Murrow, taking on Joe McCarthy and unfair accusations of communism. A wonderful film that was both dramatic and informative. The performances were outstanding, the photography amazing ... well done, Mr. Clooney!!

North Country

I have always felt that if altercations between men and women were described as assault, justice would be served ... oop oop, back to reality!!! The film North Country is a fictional depiction of a landmark sexual harassment suit in the late 80s. This film is a well done look at the work relationships in jobs where women are not welcome. It shows the ugliest side of human nature, the battle of the sexes rages. I think this film is about territory, dominance, money and survival. The actions toward the women are disturbing, but the courage and perseverance of the principles is admirable.

The cast is wonderful. Oscar winners abound, but the standouts for me were Frances McDormand and Sean Bean. To me, their characters depicted how people should treat each other. Woody Harrelson and Charlize Theron gave admirable perfomances also. (Theron is still gorgeous under all that dirt!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

In Support of Film

All forms of art always seem to struggle for funding. The thing I hear most from filmmakers is that it's easier to make the film, than to pay for the film. A lot of no budget and low budget movies work through film festivals for exposure. The film festivals themselves work hard to get funding also. There are sponsorships and fundraisers that help make these events happen.

I worked at a charity auction tonight for the Newport International Film Festival, and the support was impressive! Not only was the bidding fast and furious, but a local boy stepped up to the plate. The director Michael Corrente (Federal Hill, American Buffalo, Outside Providence) donated a package that won an amazing bid. He left his table, and worked the crowd to fetch a hansom bid in support of the Film Festival. It was great to see the support and enthusiasm for independent film, and an event that brings this wonderful art and it's artists to our small community.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Batman and Ballroom

I've seen two of the films released to DVD today.

Batman Begins is a great addition to the Batman franchise that explains the roots and gadgets of Batman fame in a satisfying, believable way. Christian Bale is a vulnerable, strong and hansom Batman.

Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary that explores a dance program in New York City schools. The insight to the adolescent mind is as interesting as the dancing.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


In the film Elizabethtown, Cameron Crowe exposes his heart. This very personal film shares his joy, his grief, his relationships, his understanding of what makes people tick. When Drew is forced to deal with the death of his father, and all those who loved him, a true journey of the soul is set out for us to watch. Claire reminds me of a guardian angel, gently holding Drew's hand, as he deals with his loss, and all the people from his father's life. There is a lot in this film, I'd like to see it again to truly absorb everything. The music is great, and sets a wonderful tone. I think this is a refreshing film, that challenges us to look at life, death and the road along the way.

Friday, October 14, 2005

New 007

Dainel Craig has been named the new James Bond for Casino Royale, due out next year. I thought this was an odd choice for Bond, until I saw him in Layer Cake. He's got that brooding, strong, sexy thing goin' on, that I had not seen in his previous films. Put Craig in a tux, and I think this could work. The Bond in this film is supposed to be early in his spy career, proving himself for 00 agent status. The story is set to explain the roots of many Bondisms. If it's done as well as Batman Begins, I'm in. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Visit Elizabethtown

I haven't anticipated a film in this space for a while, but I think Elizabethtown is worth a little extra attention. I know someone who went to the premiere of this film in Elizabethtown, KY a few weeks ago, and he has been raving about it ever since.

In this story, a young man must deal with the death of his father, return to his hometown and runs into love along the way.

The trailers look great, the cast is amazing. With Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky and Almost Famous) writing and directing, how can you go wrong!?!?! Sounds like a formula for good film, and I trust the recommendation. The release is tomorrow, so check it out this weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Summer Films in DVD

Two good films from this past summer are being released to DVD this week.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a wonderful"coming of age story" revolving around teenage girls and their summer adventures. A pair of magical jeans takes us to each girl's story.

Me and you and Everyone We Know is another story of young people trying to find their place in the world. A touching story, though a little racy in parts. Good for anyone looking for something to think about.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The film adaptation of the play Proof works well. This is not so much a story of mathematics, as it is of trust, devotion and sacrifice. Catherine stands by her brilliant, mentally ill father to his death. Family and colleagues try to sway her, but Catherine sticks to her heart and stays true to her father and herself.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Mask of Zorro

The character of Zorro came to life in 1919. With no TV or film, these pulp stories captured the imagination of people from the start. I fell in love with Zorro on television when I was a kid.

The Mask of Zorro is a wonderful action, drama, love story that takes all the hokey stuff from old fashioned, action films, and makes it fresh and exciting. This is a fun film laced with humor and action, that sets the stage for The Legend of Zorro, due out this month!

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

How do you protect your vegetables from the Were-Rabbit??? This is the dilemma for Wallace and Gromit in their first feature film. Claymation is the medium for this fun, funny story that pits non-violence against a scary monster, and a town that loves it's vegetables. Creative, cute, colorful and VERY funny. Another great animated piece that entertains both adults and kids. Well done.

Two for the Money

Two for the Money takes place inside the world of sports betting. The film itself is about talent, trust and loyalty. Pacino, McConaughey and Russo's characters form a strong "family", and the drama revolves more around their relationships than the games. Money and trust are the catalysts. This is a good story, but the end of the film gets mushy and confusing. The acting and set designs are top-notch.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

In Her Shoes

I was drawn to In Her Shoes by Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine and SHOES!!!! How fabulous to have a film where shoes are actually a character!?!? Two sisters (Collette and Cameron Diaz) have a falling out, and find out what kind of people they really are. They discover the truths of their childhood, through their newly discovered grandmother (MacLaine). This is a wonderful story, fabulous cast and great clothes and shoes!! The best truth revealed for me, is when Rose says "... my shoes never let me down, they always fit!!" The female characters are strong and funny, the men are straightforward and endearing and the shoes, stunning! Though I'm sure some men could enjoy this film (guy in front of me bailed after 20 minutes), ladies may want to grab a friend or sister to see this one!

A History of Violence

At first, this seems to be a formula hero movie, then the twists kick in. A History of Violence is a mystery, a thriller and a love story. The acting is intense, and the story unfolds in a direction I did not expect. Graphic sex and violence punctuate the story, and makes this an emotional ride. A graphic thriller I'm still thinking about.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Interpreter in DVD

The Interpreter is being released in DVD this week. This film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, I saw it about a week later, in New York, and really enjoyed it. The acting is great and the story line intriguing. This will be a popular rental.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Film Relaxes Me

The wedding was lovely!!!

As planned, the ceremony was gorgeous and heartfelt, the reception rocked, and Dr. and Mrs. Tuazon are winging their way to the tropics for a well-deserved rest!

After 3 wonderful days of reveling in friends and family, the motherofthebride, plans to relax tonight! For me, that's a light comedy and a big bowl of popcorn. I've got the remake of The Longest Yard, and the microwave is ready to go!

Here's to the happy couple and a fall full of wonderful film!!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Wedding Weekend = Movie Break

Well Melanie and Joe's wedding is this weekend, so no movies for me. Plans include a beautiful ceremony, a kick-ass party, then wish the happy couple off on their honeymoon. It's going to be great!!

One of my favorite photos is in this post from Melanie's wedding blog. This motherofthebride is very happy to be getting a new son, and I can't wait to get this party started!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Elysian Fields

IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) is one of my favorite sources for movie info. One of the features on their homepage is Movie of the Day. Today that movie is The Man From Elysian Fields. This is a wonderful film, with an incredible cast (Mick Jagger is great), interesting story and characters that actually suffer consequences for their actions. I saw this film soon after James Coburn passed away, which was a little poignant for me, he is wonderful in this film.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Robots in DVD

Robots comes out in DVD this week. This is a fun, animated story that should be watched more than once, because there are so many subtle jokes and asides.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Corpse Bride

In an interview a while back, Johnny Depp said that one of the most important things he had learned in his acting career, was that when Tim Burton asks you to work on a project, always say "yes". Corpse Bride is Burton's latest fantasy tale. A visual delight, and an engaging story, make this fun to watch. Danny Elfman's music sets a jovial tone, and the land of the dead has never been so alive!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

One Last Dance

I enjoy watching dance performance, especially strong, athletic, technical dance. One Last Dance is a come-back story of three retired dancers, to pay tribute to a deceased choreographer. Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi (who wrote and directed) were both trained at Swayze's mother's dance school. Their style and technique are so in tune, it is a pleasure to watch them dance together. George De La Pena plays the 3rd dancer, and was a soloist with the American Ballet Theater, another strong, impressive dancer. The heart of every dancer is evident in their performances. The choreography is outstanding, and all the dancers, so talented! This film was a treat for this dance fan!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Melanie

Today is my daughter Melanie's birthday!! Since I can bring anything back to the movies, I decided to see what movies we went to see the year she was born, 1980!

Star Wars, Raging Bull, The Elephant Man, Ordinary People, Private Benjamin, Fame, Nine to Five, Coal Miner's Daughter, Brubaker .... whew! Now that's a list of classics! 1980 was pre-video for me, so all of these films were seen in the theater. At the risk of sounding like an old codger, at our local cinema, on Tuesday nights, ladies paid $1. Ahhh, those were the days!!!

Happy Birthday Melanie!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Just Like Heaven

I don't often seek out a romantic comedy, but the trailers for Just Like Heaven, had me from the first. Reese Witherspoon and Mark Rufffalo do a nice job with the story of a man who rents the apartment of a woman near death, and falls in love with her spirit, who can't seem to leave him alone. There is a touch of fantasy, I don't think it is meant to be realistic, or believable, it is meant to be enjoyed. Many times I laughed out loud, and the end is what I wanted to happen .... sappy as it was.

A side-note to my favorite morning radio program, when Elizabeth (Reese Witherspoon's character) is driving in the car, her radio is tuned to 92.3 FM!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

When the earth is destroyed, two survivors thumb their way around the galaxy. I like films that poke fun at the human condition, and this one does it well. Just the premise that the earth has been destroyed to make way for a galactic bypass, is great! Towels as weapons, alien soldiers that can't shoot straight and a terminally depressed robot, all make for a silly romp through the galaxy. The cast is outstanding, and that wry, British humor, works for me. Though a little too long, this was a fun ride.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Weddings in Film

With the date of my daughter's wedding quickly approaching, I decided to see how many films I've seen with weddings in them. I got through the C's and realized that so many films either have a wedding scene in them, are about the demise of a marriage or are a look at the road to marriage. It was too much!! So I decided to narrow it down to favorite wedding references in films I've seen.

The Godfather - my favorite movie wedding
My Best Friend's Wedding - love the cell phone conversation at the reception at the very end
Four Weddings and a Funeral - making fun of the meringues
Wedding Crashers - the betting at the ceremony, we all think it, they just did it
Monsoon Wedding - tradition, flowers and family in a vibrant culture
Father of the Bride - I dissolve during the scene when they play one on one in the driveway

Above all I always love the wedding dresses!!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Men and Baseball On DVD

Film released to DVD this week are at 2 ends of the spectrum.

Winter Solstice is a wonderful drama about men who have suffered loss, and how they deal. The dialogue is sparse and the actions strong. I saw this film at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the writer/director, Josh Sternfeld, addressed this simply by saying, men are of few words. For a woman who babbles, incessantly at times, it was a little frustrating to watch, but I got the message. A good film!

On the other end of the spectrum we have Fever Pitch, which is all about communication and expressing passions and desires. Jimmy Fallon's character is a rabid Red Sox fan who has to figure out how to fit his love for a woman into his life. An entertaining film, watch with a Red Sox fan if you can!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bride and Prejudice

When my daughter gave me the soundtrack to this film for my birthday, I had to see what kind of film had a song titled "No Life, Without Wife" in it. The color and joy of Indian culture are up front in this adaptation of Jane Austin's story Pride and Prejudice. Set as a musical, Bride and Prejudice is full of beautiful people, in colorful costume, singing and dancing through the story. This film is a visual delight, and the soundtrack has some fun songs, Ashanti has a cameo.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Outsiders

Francis Ford Coppola is a true master of the camera. The cinematography in The Outsiders is just outstanding. Every shot is a visual pleasure. I liked the story, and seeing so many big-name actors, before they were big, is fun. Though I think this film is viewed as a pop classic, because of the cast, the music and cinematography make this an art film for me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina Relief Drives Continue

A Katrina relief drive local to RI. This one's easy, every little bit helps!!! Please give if you can!! Thanks!!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Crash into DVD

The film Crash is released to DVD this week. I really enjoyed this film. We get a complex story and strong cast. Ludacris and Matt Dillon (yes Matt Dillon) give exceptional performances. This is a strong, modern drama.

PS ... Was just saying that I wish that they would choose the next Bond, and I read that Paul Haggis has been chosen to write a new screen adaptation of Casino Royale, awesome choice!!! He wrote both Crash and Million Dollar Baby. My personal choice for Bond!?!?! Clive Owen ... stay tuned.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Ballad of Jack and Rose

Jack is a father, living alone with his daughter on an island, away from the general population. Rose is Jack's daughter, a young girl who has not been to school since she was 11, and, when faced with people, has all the normal curiosities of a teenager. This is an interesting story of love and isolationism. It is touching and dramatic, in some ways, a little disturbing. The acting and writing are outstanding.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Constant Gardener

Ralph Fiennes may be one of the finest modern actors. His portrayal of Justin Quayle, in The Constant Gardener, is poignant and powerful. This film is part love story, part murder mystery, part thriller, part consciousness raising. Multi-layered and beautifully shot, this film made me pay attention. Activism can have a price.

Friday, September 02, 2005

More Katrina Relief

This is another link for anyone who wants to help the people devastated by hurricane Katrina. It is a local relief drive in RI, that some of you may be able to help with. Scroll down a bit on the page for all the info.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


As light romantic comedies go, Monster-in-Law delivers, more for the comedy than the romance. Not hilarious, but a fun movie. Fonda and Lopez play off each other well, and Wanda Sykes is very funny!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina Relief

The news coverage of the devastation in the path of Hurricane Katrina is mind boggling. Thousands of displaced people need our help. Anyone looking for a place to send relief funds can contact the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army or the ASPCA.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Skeleton Key

The reviews for Skeleton Key were lukewarm, but my appreciation of Kate Hudson and a free hat from a promotion event took me to the theater this afternoon. All performances were fine, the story went along, I started thinking about laundry .... until the end. Wow!!!! I was taken totally by surprise, and it's a pretty good mind bender. Nuff said about the plot, I hope others will be surprised too. I will wear the hat proudly!!!

L4yer Cake

L4yer Cake is a British gangster film with all the right elements. Drugs, mobsters, subdued violence and the double cross. Most important, though, is Daniel Craig. This actor is in almost every scene, and carries the film beautifully. The director of this film was a producer on the films Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. The genre is familiar to him, but his real strength is in the camera work and creative editing. The ending surprised me. Check out the special features on the DVD. The Q&A with Daniel Craig and the director, Matthew Vaugh, were very interesting to me.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cinema ParadisO

Back in the day, Miramax was the guru of bringing wonderful small films to general distribution. Cinema ParadisO was part of that legacy. A lovely Italian film that starts out as a coming-of-age, turns to a love story and resolves with a tear jerker. Perfect cinema!!!! Movie lovers will enjoy watching old-time movie lovers, the story is rich and heartwarming. Though subtitled, there is nothing for me like hearing Italian men say "Principeca" (princess) to their lady love.
This film won the Oscar for Best Foreign film in 1989.

Broken Flowers

Broken Flowers is a pensive, thought provoking film. A man, reluctantly, goes on a road trip to find past girlfriends, based on an unsigned letter saying he has a son. This is a series of VERY uncomfortable situations. Every woman gets a bouquet of pink flowers. This gesture gets more symbolic with every visit.

The style of this film is unusual. Bill Murray's character says very little, you hunger for him to speak. He is all about expressions and actions. It's an interesting way to tell a story. Jim Jarmusch presents the basic story, but leaves enough out to make you really think. In a lot of scenes, nothing happens, but it takes you to the next part of the story. The women in this film give outstanding performances, and they all look great! The ending leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Not for everyone, but I liked it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I would like to extend a hearty "welcome" to any new readers that visit here from the link on the Giovanni & Kim in the Morning Show page at the 92ProFM website!!! I thought I would offer a little about me and these posts.

As the header says, I LOVE movies! I used to write about them in a journal, but when I was introduced to this blog site, I thought it would be fun to put my thoughts in a place that could be easily shared with friends.

Film is my hobby. I visit the theater often, and I have a DVD service that keeps my appetite for this wonderful art satisfied. I also attend and volunteer at film festivals a few times a year. It's a great way to see the latest independent films, and meet the people who make them.

One of the things I love about film, is that everyone likes movies on some level. It can be a wonderful common ground with friends old and new! The posts on this blog are just my humble opinion. I write about the films as I see them, and at the beginning of the week I look at the new DVD releases, and write about any I have seen in the theater. You can click on the months in the archives column to see past posts, I started writing here back in November 2004, so there's lots to read.

Welcome to my little space, and if someone in the theater asks you "Is this seat taken?" it could be me!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Aristocrats

In my love for documentaries, I have come across a gem. The Aristocrats is not so much about an old dirty joke, but about how comedians view comedy, the art of telling a joke, and the traditions of their craft. 100 comics give their views on this old joke, and some actually tell the joke. It is a joke that is more a part of the culture of comedians, than for public telling. I do not think this joke is funny, so I felt better as the film went along, because many of the comics themselves said that it's not a funny joke. The comedy is in the art of the telling. In the course of the interviews it is told as a card trick, a female standup tells a great version that actually gets a laugh in a club and a mime even has his way with it (so to speak). A few comics tell other jokes, Robin Williams and Drew Cary are amazing!!! The high point of the film is Gilbert Gottfried in a very human moment, using the joke at a roast to get people to laugh again after 9/11 .... brilliant!!!! Many of my faves were in this film, George Carlin, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Paul Reiser, Rita Rudner, Phyllis Diller, Don Rickles ... and on and on. Paul Provenza, of Penn and Teller is the genius behind this look into the comic mind, and I thank him.

WARNING: The joke itself is perverted and disgusting. If vulgarity offends you, skip this film.

Red Eye

I love a good thriller. Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy are a pleasure to watch as they work the story in Red Eye. I knew too much going into this film, so I won't reveal much plot here. The goal is the prevention of an assassination, and the motivation is love of family. Wes Craven brings suspense to the screen in this summer thriller.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Hustle was recommended to me by one of my Chicago film buddies. He saw this film on a flight back from China last month, how appropriate!! Funny, fast-paced and hi-tech, this Chinese, gangster story was very entertaining for me. The absurdity of the story and situations cracked me up. Limbs fly, old ladies in curlers run with animated legs, this film is a crazy ride. The first Steven Chow film I ever saw, was Shaolin Soccer, at a film festival a few years ago. The man sitting next to me giggled through the whole film! Kung Fu Hustle has a similar effect. It is in Mandrin, so there are subtitles. A fun foreign film!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

TV drives me to the Movies

Last night I tried to get on the bandwagon of reality TV, and fell off with a thud. I tried to watch Tommy Lee Goes to College, oh-my-goodness!!!! Contrived, self serving and downright boring. I have a feeling people will either love this show or hate it, I am of the later. This is what TV has become, which is why I turn to the movies for my entertainment fix. I keep a stack of DVD's at the ready, and I'll make a trip to the theater before I turn on the tube.

I do like to know what's going on in the media, and enjoy pop culture. To keep up to speed, I am grateful for my favorite morning radio show. Every morning they discuss current events, and the latest TV shows. They are performing a public service!! I get to be in the know, without the pain of actually having to watch, thanks guys!!!! See you at the movies!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Small Screen Sin

Sin City comes out in DVD this week. I really enjoyed this film in the theater, the visual is impressive to me. The film is primarily black and white, and color is used to develop characters and plot. I hope it translates well to the small screen. Though very violent and graphic, this is a classic story of loyalty and rescue. I liked this artsy thriller.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

After Hours

The film After Hours is everything I love about film. A crazy story, brilliant acting, big name film stars early in their careers and amazing direction. Martin Scorsese is a film genius in my mind, and in 1983, when the filming of the Last Temptation of Christ had fallen apart (took years to finish that film), he agreed to direct the film After Hours, with Griffin Dunne, to prove to himself he could still shoot a good film. And that he did. His beloved NYC was the background, shot only at night (even the interiors), to maintain the realism of the one night the story takes place. Keep an eye out for his cameo, he usually inserts himself in his films, somewhere. If you like film stories of a situation gone awry, this is one I really enjoyed!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Obscure DVD Recommendations

I love when friends recommend films I've never heard of. With all my reading and research, I like getting first-hand info on obscure films. One of my Film Friends recommended the mockumentary from last year, called The Incident at Loch Ness. Werner Herzog and Zak Penn put together a spoof that H thought was a riot, I was mildly amused, but it could have been my mood. Not bad if you like this form of humor.

Another Film Friend recommended 2 films I enjoyed quite a bit. One was called The Chateau. A comedy about 2 brothers going to France to claim the inheritance of an old French chateau, and the twists and turns that ensue. Very amusing, VERY low budget. The other is a wonderful comedy called Happy,Texas. Two guys escape from prison, and in stealing an RV to get away, must assume the identities of 2 beauty pageant coaches to avoid the police. As you can guess, they end up in Happy, Texas, and the pageant is for 10 year olds. Steve Zahn shines in this silly chase film. I was very entertained.

Keep those film recommendations coming !!!!!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings 1938-2005

When Peter Jennings was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, I had a feeling the end was near. The look in his eye when he delivered that announcement was hard to miss. Though many people have beaten cancer, it is an insidious disease, and his valiant battle was lost. My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues and those of us who enjoyed his professional talents for so many years.

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Jennings moderate a discussion panel at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and I emphasize the word pleasure. Television does not even begin to do justice to this man's physical appearance and presence. Tall, hansom, calm, confident, VERY impressive. The topic of the panel was "Jesus as Celebrity", in the wake of last year's release of "The Passion of the Christ" and his TV special "The Search for Jesus". The panel consisted of an author, several movie directors and a movie producer. As you can imagine, the Q&A with the audience became a little heated, and the discussion was lively. Jennings was masterful at keeping everyone on topic, and was firm, but not condescending when he had to keep the fanatic factor in check. His demeanor, confidence, class and tact was impressive. I came away from the evening with a new respect for the man, and a little crush!!!

I am glad I had the chance to experience Peter Jennings in person, he will be sorely missed.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wedding Crashers

So I go see Wedding Crashers on a date, only to hear Vince Vaughn's character explain, in rapid-fire dialogue, the technical points of dating!!! Hilarious!!! This movie made me laugh out loud many times!! Cute, vulgar, tasteless at times and very entertaining!!! Vince Vaughn is amazing, and his delivery masterful. The story fizzles a bit at the end, but at that point I didn't care. I had already had a good time!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Alexander and Bernie in DVD

Two films I saw this past winter are out in DVD, one is fun, the other an epic challenge.

Guess Who is a cute remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher play well off each other, as the race roles have been reversed, and the situations hipped up. This will be a fun rental.

Alexander will be worth renting. Though this was a tedious film to sit through in the theater, at home you can flip throught the boring speeches, and zip to the cool conflicts (fights). A few of the battles may require fast-forward, but at least on DVD you have that option. Anyone curious to see this view of Alexander's part in history should rent this film.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Island

Films with futuristic themes have always entertained me. 2001, Symone, I-Robot and now The Island. This action thriller revolves around a company who creates clones for wealthy folks who want body parts available when they face life threatening circumstances. Unforeseen glitches emerge, and chaos ensues. The dialogue was excellent, some snappy one liners broke the tension from time to time. Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johanson, Steve Buschemi and Sean Bean give great performances. The chase scenes, special effects and cinematography are outstanding, though a little long (Michael Bay likes to put a lot on the screen). The summer action film is alive and well!!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hustle & Flow

Rap is an interesting background to a story about a man trying to live his dream. A pimp gets an old high school friend to help him put together some rap tracks for radio air-play, in an attempt to better his life. The pimp's girls help,in interesting ways, and the producer brings in a technician who brings the production together. Of course there is conflict and violence, but the resolutions are good. The characters evolve and work well together, and in the end, Nola is in charge!!!!! I really enjoyed this film.

Bad News Bears.....Again

I have always thought that the first version of The Bad News Bears was clever and entertaining. Well written, well acted and a cheesy ending that worked.

The latest version of the Bad News Bears is fine, but I think the acting is not as good as the original, and the sarcasm in the script is much too adult for the story. The saving grace is Billy Bob Thornton, the man is so good, but his efforts are a little lost in the film. The kids hit their stride near the end of the film, but it too little too late. This would be a fair rental.

Friday, July 29, 2005

How Did I Miss This?

I must have been asleep at the switch when I looked at DVD releases for this week. The Upside of Anger was released to DVD this week. This is a good story with an ending that caught me by surprise. A film worth renting.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Inside Z Channel

I did not know there was a cable movie channel before HBO, it was called Z Channel. I recently watched "Z Channel : A Magnificent Obsession", a documentary about the channel and it's head programmer, Jerry Harvey. Interesting look at film history, Harvey was a real aficionado of cinema as art. I ended up with a long list of films to rent! To me, the most interesting views were from the actor James Woods. He credits the showing of his film Salvadore,on the Z Channel, with changing his career. The film was not doing well in theaters, but Harvey put it on the Z Channel. It was nominated for 3 Oscars that year. Woods believes it was because of the exposure on the Z Channel. Interesting film for anyone into film history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

March of the Peguins

When I was a kid there were evenings my father would holler, "you kids get down here"! He would have found a National Geographic or Cousteau special on the tube, and we were to watch and learn. I was fascinated by those shows. I think that is where my love for documentary film began.

The film, March of the Peguins, is a window into the lives of the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica. They are born, they grow, they live in the ocean for 4 years, mature, return to the mating ground, mate and return to the ocean. Doesn't sound like much right? Try it at 58 degrees below zero and dinner is a 70 mile walk away, (and your legs are 2 inches long), and, oh yeah, when the wind blows it's 80 degrees below zero....yikes!!! Did I mention this has been going on for centuries!?!?

These animals are amazing, and this film is a view of their world that is hostle, cute, sad, funny, touching, mesmerizing and entertaining. Stay for the credits, you get to meet the film crew. This film is well worth seeing on the big screen!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dry Spell

As the dog days of summer settle in, I've hit a little dry spell in my film viewing. Vacation travel and summer visits have me otherwise occupied, and there's very little I want to see in the theater. There hasn't been a decent DVD release in weeks.

One little oasis for me has been TV series on DVD. I've enjoyed flipping through episodes of Sopranos, Hogan's Heroes and Entourage. 3rd Rock from the Sun comes out this week, that show always cracked me up!!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tim Burton has given us a gift in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I tried to go in with no preconceived notions. I did not compare it to the book or the 1971 film, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and I enjoyed a very creative film. First of all, kudos for best sight gag ever, the glass elevator! I thought the first fall was funny, the second hilarious!!! The story moved along nicely and the characters developed quickly. Strong points are the set design, the music and some great tongue in cheek humor .... and believe it or not, a mock-shower scene ... (see last post)!!

This was a fun film for me, and the Oompa Loompas knocked me out!!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Psycho Shower Scenes

So there are shower scenes, and there are SHOWER scenes. The classic film, Psycho, features one of the most famous shower scenes on film, with the lovely Janet Leigh meeting an untimely demise. I recently saw American Psycho (the fascination with Christian Bale continues), and his shower scenes were appreciated by this film connoisseur. On an intellectual level, American Psycho is an intriguing psychological thriller / horror film. On a basic female level, Christian Bale, at 27 years old, is buff, cut and wet, in one (actually I think there are two) VERY memorable shower scenes **sigh** I love cinema!!! hehe

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Winter Films Are Hot on DVD

Two of the finest films of 2004 are out in DVD this week. I saw both of these films in NYC last winter, and both were an experience (click the links to see why).

A Very Long Engagement is a foreign film that tells a touching love story set during the first World War. This film was beautifully shot, and was a pleasure to watch. It is in French and there are subtitles.

Million Dollar Baby was "the" film to see in 2004. Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hillary Swank and Paul Haggis give us a film that enthralls us, then breaks our hearts. I really like boxing, but it took me a bit to get used to watching women box, this film did a great job with the fight scenes. Swank deserved every award she was given for this performance. For all the triumphant moments in this film, there is a heart wrenching ending.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Wish We Made Chocolate

I work in a factory that makes plastics. We have a lot of big tanks and drums and crazy looking machines to make our products. A friend stopped by today with her grandsons who are 8 and 7 years old. They wanted to see the factory, so I gave them a little tour. When you are not quite 4 feet tall, our machines and tanks look very big and very impressive, they kept saying things like "wow" and "cool"!! As I handed them some plastic pieces we make, as souvenirs, I found myself thinking about the trailer I saw over the weekend for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", due for release at the end of this week. For a second I wished I was Willy Wonka, and was sending them home with a candy bar!! As I snapped out of my movie fantasy, I got a hearty thank you from the wide-eyed boys.

I can find a movie tie-in anywhere!!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Turtles Can Fly

Turtles Can Fly is one of those films that you are glad you saw, but exposes you to unpleasant realities of a cruel world. I went to see it with my friend D, and we had to discuss for several hours after the film. In a village on the Iran/Turkey border, a group of orphans struggles to survive amid land mines and soldiers of war. An excellent film, but a real eye opener to the horrors of war, and a culture that struggles, daily, just to survive.


The penguins are psychotic!!! Madagascar is a cute, characters-out-of-their-element, animated story. Each character's personality quirks are established quickly, and the story moves right along. The unfortunate reality of the food chain challenges these animal friends, but friendship saves the day, and everyone is happy!! New Yorkers will enjoy the inside jokes, and there are a few adult jokes for the folks who paid for the tickets. The animation is top notch, and even the music has a function. A cute film for the kids, and enough for the adults to keep everyone happy.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Me and You and Everyone We Know is this year's film festival darling. From Sundance to Newport, it has won the hearts of many. This is a quirky, heartfelt look at the lives of people that want to touch and be touched, but don't know how, and don't feel sure. For the ones who take a chance, there is reward. This a film you think about a lot after the lights have come back on. The performances from the young people in this film are strong and noteworthy. Miranda July has created a piece to be proud of.

Monday, July 04, 2005


After all the explosions and screaming in the latest summer films, Heights is a nice break. Set in a day in the intertwined lives of a handful of characters, this script keeps you guessing, while giving you all the clues to the end. A nice drama that made me cry at the appropriate moment, not a happy story, but well told. Glenn Close and Elizabeth Banks are a wonderful mother-daughter combo. Nice solid acting throughout is refreshing among other summer fare!!

Hide and Seek on DVD

The film Hide and Seek comes out in DVD this week. I enjoyed this film in the theater, though it did not get great reviews. I would look at the DVD to see the alternate endings. I thought this was a decent thriller.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg has taken the H.G. Wells classic, War of the Worlds, and given it his interpretation. The classic Spielberg formula of family angst, aliens (this time they are bad) and a two hour chase scene, makes for a wild summer disaster movie. Instead of a tornado or earthquake, we have aliens that destroy everything and everyone in it's path (except the main characters, of course). John Williams has given us another wonderful score, and the special effects are top notch.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Let me count the ways that Mr. & Mrs. Smith entertained me:
(Letterman style, of course)

10. The most superficial of reasons, Pitt and Jolie are smokin' hot!!
9. Special effects and things that get blown up abound.
8. Vince Vaugh's character, and his delivery, are hilarious!
7. The neighbors ... see the film, I need say no more.
6. Creative premise, got a lot more story than I expected.
5. The married folk banter was stereotypical and very funny.
4. Benjamin wearing a Fight Club t-shirt rocks!
3. I love night shots of the Brooklyn Bridge.
2. The dialog and ironic humor had me laughing out loud.
1. Did I mention that Pitt and Jolie are smokin' hot!?!?!?
(And pull off a very funny action adventure film for summer fun!!)


One of my favorite summer TV events are the tennis finals at Wimbledon. This morning I'm enjoying the men's semi finals and women's finals. Men's finals tomorrow, love the power in that match!!

This brings to mind a film from last year called Wimbledon. I enjoyed the love story against the background of this competitive sport. With a strong script, and great performances from Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst, this is a solid rental. The tennis sequences are intense, and well filmed. Some of the scenes were actually filmed at Wimbledon in 2003.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Coach Carter

Coach Carter is a great Samuel L . Jackson vehicle. He plays the preachy, disciplinary, high school basketball coach, Ken Carter, in true Jackson style. A well done sports film, with real-life consequences for actions, some a little sad. A little long (2hrs. 16min) this is a solid sport biopic.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Celebrity Blind

I've decided that I am "celebrity blind". I have had my share of celebrity sightings over the years, but after reading a recent edition of Gawker, I have decided I just don't know what I'm looking at. Almost every celebrity I've seen had to be pointed out, or introduced themselves to me.... and I'm a consumer, I know what they look like!!! Unfortunately I have passed this gene along to daughter L, who saw Richard Kind (Mad About You) outside a theater in NYC and said "I've just seen someone famous, but I don't know who it is!!!" The story of my life!!!

It's not like I'm not interested, I love the scoops on stars, I get a kick out of my random brushes with celebrity, but I have spent years in the same haunts as this Gawker page, and have seen nary the glimmer of stars that this writer describes. (I may have let Tim Robbins cross the street in front of me in Tribeca this spring, but I'm not really sure). My take is, that they look so different in person (usually much better) that it doesn't register with me.

So my friend S and I are planning our annual summer attack on Manhattan, and I may just take random photos of passersby, and see if I can identify them later. I'll be discreet, it's easy to look like you're taking a photo of a building ......

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Machinist

The Machinist is a psychological thriller. Subtle in tone, and strong on continuity and style. This film explores the power of the psyche when it is in denial. The cast does an excellent job with a challenging script and form. The ending is worth the ride.

Waiting for Guffman

I think the most fascinating thing for me about Christopher Guest films, is that he works without a script. I have enjoyed Best of Show, A Mighty Wind, The Big Picture and now Waiting for Guffman, and marvel at the mastery of improv. For Waiting for Guffman he shot 60 hours of film, to get an 84 minute goof on small town theater, and comes up with a very funny film. A fun, light film that made me laugh!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins

Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins is a great history of the character. All of the background to what Batman is, is believable and high tech. Christian Bale and Michael Caine are great together, and Morgan Friedman is a welcome ally as Fox, keeper of the bat-gadgets. I found it difficult to follow the fight scenes, they were fast, furious and dark, hard to tell who was who (maybe on purpose). But the strength of the the story (snappy one liners abound) and acting rise above this technical flaw. Batman Begins is a welcome addition to the franchise. Though I loved Michael Keaton and George Clooney as Batman, Christian Bale goes to the top of the list for me. His intensity and looks are the perfect combination for the millionaire and super-hero, and he carries off both Bruce Wayne and Batman as separate personalities. Though a little too long (drags a little when they are fleshing out the master-crime), this is a good summer action flick.

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle is a wonderful animated adventure from the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, who brought us the Oscar-winning film, Spirited Away. This story is full of wizards, witches, magic and adventure. It is fantasy without the sugar-coating. This is a lovely visual, with a story of war and love, that keeps you on your toes. My favorite characters were Turniphead, who doesn't say a word, yet brings the most joy to the screen, and Calcifer, the fire, and the power of the castle. With the voice of Billy Crystal, Calcifer is funny, warm, strong and wise. The voice of Howl is played by Christian Bale as the vain, tortured wizard, warrior and lord of the castle. Some of the war scenes may be a little too intense for little ones, but Howl's is not as scary as Spirited Away.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mad Hot Recommendation

Once in a while I get to attend a screening of a film, at a film festival or special event, before it is released. In April I saw Mad Hot Ballroom at a fund raiser in Newport, it is going into wide release this weekend and coming back to RI. This is a documentary about a ballroom dancing program in NY city schools. Watching the kids evolve as they learn the dances is interesting, but the peek into the adolescent psyche is even more fascinating.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hitch on DVD

Hitch comes out in DVD this week. This did OK in the theaters, but I think it will do really well in DVD. It's one of those nice surprises that you rent and really enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I'm With the Band

My assignment at the Newport Film Festival was to drive Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer to their rehearsals,performance, dinner, film and party. Guest and Shearer, along with Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole, were performing at the Newport Blues Cafe, along with a discussion of their careers and music.

Not only were they charming, kind and friendly, but their concert gave this small-town gal the chance to say "I'm with the band". When we got to the venue for their performance, a security guard tried to tell myself, and the other driver ("THE Linda"), that only people with the band were allowed in the backstage area. We told them we were the drivers for the band, and got to sit in a special area, where we enjoyed a wonderful concert. It was an incredible performance, and an awesome day. McKean was honored with a lifetime achievement award, and his friends and collaborators were there to support and congratulate him. And I got to be a part of it all, thanks NIFF!!!!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

FFF (Film Festival Fun)

The Newport Film Festival is in full swing, and I actually got to see a film tonight!! Press On is a wonderful documentary about the pedal steel artist Robert Randolph. Once again, a documentary has shown me a world of music I've never seen. The enthusiasm and talent of these artists was amazing, and the culmination of success to performing at the Grammy's was heartwarming. Keep your eye out for this young man, his music is a pleasure. After the film Randolph's mentors, Calvin Cook and Ted Beard, performed. I met these gentlemen a few days ago and their charming personalities really came through in their music.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Oh to Be in DVD

Beyond the Sea and Be Cool are out in DVD today. Both were very enjoyable and should do well on the small screen. The production numbers in Beyond the Sea were great, who knew Spacey could dance!?!? Worth a look from the couch.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Traveling Pants

I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with my teenage niece B. I thought I was prepared, because I had listened to interviews, read reviews, brought a teenager .... I did not bring enough Kleenex!!!! This was a wonderful film that incorporated the 4 lives of 4 young women, connected by life experience and a magical pair of jeans. Two of the stories really struck a chord with me. The interview I heard with Bradley Whitford on Friday, should have tipped me off to the Kleenex thing, but I thought I was tuff enuff ... boy was I wrong!!! I was surprised at the diversity of the audience in the theater. There were the expected groups of teenage girls in flip fops, but there were a fair amount of adults, who were treated to a wonderful film!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Cinderella Man

The first real Oscar contender of 2005 has come to theaters in the story of the depression-era boxer, Jim Braddock. For each of the major players in Cinderella Man, I have these thoughts:

Russell Crowe: You are an engaging actor, and played a believable father, husband, friend and upstanding human being. You did Jim Braddock proud.
Renee Zellweger: You played the quintessential mother and wife, and stand-up-for-herself woman, with grace and strength.
Paul Giamatti: To date, your best work. Energy and heart were all over the screen, and as the character Jimmy Johnston said, "your mouth should be in the circus".
Ariel Waller, Connor Price and Patrick Louis: You formed the heart of the family, and have some of the most beautiful faces I've ever seen on screen.
Craig Bierko: You played the bad guy to the hilt, and brought an ominous air to the character.
Craig Hollingworth: Great dialog and attention to detail, in a screenplay that moves right along.
Ron Howard: You got the best out of these actors, and gave us a creative, heartwrenching view of an outstanding athlete and human being, who gave you a great story to tell.

Bravo to all, this goes on my list of great sports films, family films and love stories.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Satisfaction from the Sith

Star Wars Episode III:Revenge of the Sith, was pure storytelling satisfaction for me. George Lucas has given us 28 years to enjoy and absorb a story that is filled with fantasy, love, action, friendship and political conflict. Not always the best acting, but the story is played out well, and the action and special effects make it all worthwhile.

Revenge of the Sith fills in the blanks, and ties all 6 films together, to tell a great story. I now know why Darth Vader was so convicted, and where Leia got that funky hairdo!!! Bravo to the sound crew, and John Williams for the dramatic score (I smell and Oscar nom). All in all a fun summer movie, and satisfying finale to the Star Wars legacy.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Big Picture

In anticipation of the Newport International Film Festival I sat down with the Christopher Guest mockumentary, The Big Picture. This tongue-in-cheek look at filmmaking in Hollywood was very entertaining! Kevin Bacon's fantasy scenes were my favorite, a look into the creative mind. It was also fun to see Bacon and Terry Hatcher 15 years younger (they haven't changed much)!!

More on the film festival to come ... starts June 7th, boxoffice opens this weekend. Woo hoo!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

DVD of the week

There is only one DVD release worth mentioning this week. The Aviator is out in DVD this week. Scorsese and DiCaprio put this passionate story on film, and it is a pleasure.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Shout Out

A little time out from movies for a quick shout out.

Congratulations to my daughter, Liza, on her graduation from Hofstra University yesterday. She is a frequent reader of this blog, and has been accepted to the NYC Teaching Fellows program. Well done!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Anticipating Star Wars

As midnight, and the release of the final Star Wars installment approaches, I'll admit it here, I love all the hype that is Star Wars, and especially Revenge of the Sith! Yes it's cheesy, yes it's commercial, but after 6 films and 28 years, I say BRING IT ON!!!! I love the toys, the pajamas, the drink cups, the Pez dispensers, the plastic light sabers, the party decorations, the costumed fans, and on and on ..... It is marketing genius, and the movies are wonderful. Fantasy movie magic at it's best! I have been enjoying the adventures of the Star Wars gang for more than half of my life, and I can't wait for the final installment!! Thank you Mr. Lucas ....


Swingers is a film from the mid 90's that I have often seen referenced, but never taken the time to watch. Written by, and starring John Favreau, and co-staring Vince Vaugn, these guys and their cronies crawl the LA nightlife looking for a good time. I was pleasantly surprised by the acting and the writing. There is a dance scene at a club near the end, that has couples swing dancing to the music of The Big Bad VooDoo Daddies. This scene was so much fun to watch, I had to rewind a couple of times! Favreau's character grows in such a way, that this film had a very satisfying ending for me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sex or Violence !?!?

They have always said the two things that sell are sex and violence, we have both in DVD release today. Team America:World Police is violent (yeah, violent puppets), vulgar, offensive and funny as hell. I was highly entertained by this political and social satire.

On a gentler note, Kinsey, is a biopic about Alfred Kinsey, a scientist, who approached sex as a research subject. The acting in this is wonderful, and the history and attitudes toward sex are interesting.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Chorus

I saw The Chorus (Les Choristes) last night, and was very impressed. This Academy Award nominated, French film is the story of the impact of music on the young men and their teachers at a boarding school for delinquent and orphaned boys. I enjoyed the story, the music and the cinematography .... Bravo!!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Star Wars - Shortman Parallels

So, while watching a special about the history of Star Wars, I've discovered some very strange parallels between Star Wars movie releases and my daughters. When The Empire Strikes Back was released, in May of 1980, I was pregnant with Melanie. When Return of the Jedi was released, in May of 1983, I was pregnant with Liza. Episode II:Attack of the Clones was released the week of Melanie's college graduation in 2002. Now, Episode III:Revenge of the Sith, is being released the week of Liza's college graduation. Doesn't mean a thing, but I do love synchronicities .....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Local Film

The Last Shot is a film about an FBI sting, using the guise of making a film, to lure the felons. My favorite line is at the beginning of the film, when the agent asks "They've got mobsters in Rhode Island??" Yes, Rhode Island stars along with Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Tony Shalub, Toni Collette and Calista Flockhart. This film entertained me, and it was a hoot to watch these big stars wander around the state landfill and re-routed river. Not bad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pillow Promotion

My favorite morning radio show has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. They are always trying to come up with the next great business idea. There was talk of a toast store a while back (they even bought a toaster).

Some poor sleeping postures, got them thinking of a store that just sells pillows. They have come up with an initial investment of $113.65 (unless there's another trip to Ben & Jerry's). They could be well on their way to success! The discussion this morning was primarily about a great name for the store. Of course, my mind immediately turned to the 1959 film, Pillow Talk, (excellent romantic comedy with Rock Hudson and Doris Day).

While brainstorming their advertising strategy, they asked if I would promote their store on this blog. So for all you folks in southern New England, who madly dashed to a pad to write down this blog address, keep an eye out for the biggest sensation to hit the bedding industry!!! When they land on a name you can read it here first!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Big Names

There are big names in DVD releases I like this week. Al Pacino stars in The Merchant of Venice. This version of the Shakespeare classic is well done. Bill Murray leads an all-star cast in the silly film The Life Aquatic. Cate Blanchette, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston and Jeff Goldblum bring us this cute homage to Jacque Cousteau. Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson headline the film In Good Company, an early release this year, that should do very well in DVD.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Can a man go from successful TV writer (Facts of Life, Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Diffr'nt Strokes, LA Law, thirtysomething....) to movie screenwriter?!?! Oh yeah!!!! Paul Haggis was the screenwriter on Million Dollar Baby (need I say more?) and has hit a home run with me, with the new release, Crash. Along with Robert Moresco, he wrote a gloves-off look at race and human relationships. The quick pace between scenes and stories worked well. The acting was top notch, not a weak performance in this large cast. This is not easy stuff to watch, but well worth the ride. I'll be thinking about this film for a while.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Phantom DVD

Awesome costumes, colors and cinematography, in the latest version of The Phantom of the Opera, make this movie worth seeing. I'm not a huge fan of the story, but visually, this is a beautiful film. Joel Schumacher brings style and energy to this classic musical.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Interpreter

I wanted to see The Interpreter with a New York audience, so I ventured uptown on Friday to the Lowe's on 19th Street. I like to watch a film when I'm familiar with the filming location. From Brooklyn to Chelsea, New York played it's part well. I've never been to the UN, it looks beautiful inside. Have to put that tour on my list for future NYC visits. This was a solid political thriller, well written, well acted and directed.

Tribeca Recap

I'm back from my week at the Tribeca Film Festival, it was a great time!!! These are the films and faces I saw ....

Five Children and It is a charming British film about a family of children that discover the dangers and wonder of wishes. Henson productions is involved in this project so not only is the writing and acting great, but the special effects and "It" are enchanting! The screenwriter and his family were there.

The Tenants is a film adapted from a novel by Bernard Malamud. It is a drama, a love story and thriller all in one. Dylan McDermott, Snoop Dogg, Seymour Cassel and Danny Greene were all there for the Q&A. I was sitting among the production cast, so the eavesdropping was great!!

Reeker was a great horror film that was a nice blend of slasher and humor. The director and 2 of the actors were there.

Based on a True Story is a documentary about the actual robbery that Dog Day Afternoon is based on. It was a very interesting film. Famous faces there were Walter Stokman (the director of the film), Sidney Lumet (director of Dog Day Afternoon), Frank Pierson (writer of the screenplay for Dog Day Afternoon), the bank robber's ex-wife and two of the bank hostages. It was a very interesting Q&A.

Deep Blue was a wild underwater documentary with some hypnotic camera work, beautiful film. I had the pleasure of a running commentary from a little boy going on behind me that was priceless!

Melanie and Liza joined me for the film The Sisters on Wednesday night. This film was based on a Chekhov play, The 3 Sisters. A star studded dysfunctional family story, well done and the director and screenwriter were at the Q&A.

On Thursday I saw 2 short film programs. In Side Effects May Vary there were 7 films with all kinds of gross things going on. Not for the weak of stomach, but very entertaining. Got to chat with the filmmaker, Bill Plimpton before the screening. His film "Guard Dog" was nominated for an academy award this past year. Triggerstreet Shorts was a collection of 12 short films from the Triggerstreet folks who promote and support fledgling filmmakers. All the filmmakers were there and a lot of suits from the website's sponsor, Budweiser. You can see and submit films at

It was a great week, can't wait for next year!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tribeca Bound

So I'm watching Access Holywood last night, and Robert DeNiro said "come to the Tribeca Film Festival", I felt invited!!! Off I go today, a week in New York City with tickets to 6 films at the film festival, and plans with friends and family!!! This is going to be a great vacation. If I can find internet access I'll post while I'm gone .... if not , tune in next week. Tribeca here I come!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Mad Hot Ballroom

I had the privilege of attending a film screening that melds two of my interests, film and ballroom dancing. The documentary Mad Hot Ballroom chronicles a ballroom dance program in NY public schools. The dancers are 10-12 years old, and the program culminates in a city-wide competition (Ann Reinking was one of the judges). The film delves into the heart and motivation of this program, which is to better the self esteem, poise and social skills of these young people through ballroom dancing. Watching these young people learn to merengue, swing, rumba, fox trot and tango is amazing. They progress from awkward (ewww touching), to graceful and confident. Stories of the dancer's progress in behavior and academics is interwoven nicely. The insight to the psyche of adolescence was also fascinating. The kids explain what it's like to be 10, 11 years old and share their dreams, thoughts on family and the opposite sex. One of the boys goes as far as saying that dance is "like a sport that nobody knows is a sport".

I also had the pleasure of attending an event with the filmmakers and several of the cast members, and found them charming and fun in person. The kids are wonderful dancers, and one of the teachers, Rodney Lopez, even gave me a twirl on the dance floor!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bobby Long

A Love Song for Bobby Long is the story of 3 people forced to be a family for a year. When a girl's mother dies, she returns home to claim the house and her history. It's an interesting story, with a gritty performance from John Travolta. He plays an alcoholic intellectual, trying to help a former student finish his book. And of course he has a dance scene with the lovely Ms. Johansson!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Fockers and Daggers

Meet the Fockers is out in DVD today. A fun watch, those crazy Fockers made me laugh. Streisand really seemed to have fun with this character.
House of Flying Daggers is beautifully filmed. I was bored by the story.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Film Festival Update

One week from today, I will be in New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival. This tribute to lower Manhattan has become an annual event for me. I love to visit this vivacious and comfortable neighborhood, and they put on one heck of a film event!! The films are diverse, the mood celebratory, and there are filmmakers and actors galore!! I have been to many screenings where most of the cast is in attendance with the filmmakers, the Q&A sessions are great!!!

As a bonus, the Newport Film Festival is hosting their spring fund raiser on Friday night, April 22nd, with a screening of Mad Hot Ballroom (which is showing at the Tribeca Film Festival also). This film is sold out in NY, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to see it in Newport, and help raise a little cash for my favorite local film festival. I'll be selling raffle tickets at the film and the gala ... look for tickets at

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Fever Pitch

I am a casual Red Sox fan. When it comes to sports, I usually don't pay attention until the playoffs of any given series, especially baseball. I didn't get on board with the Red Sox this year, until August! Growing up in New England, I am jaded from a childhood of rooting for a team , only to see them lose. The last few years have been very confusing, with the Patriots dominating football, and now the Red Sox win the World Series!?!?! I say "Yahoo!" but also "What-huh!?!?!"

The Farelly brothers have given us another romantic comedy, this time with the Red Sox as an actual character. These guys do a great job making the male lead vulnerable, lovable and all guy... Jimmy Fallon does a great job in this role (I was pleasantly surprised).

In general, this is a cute, well done romantic comedy. For this pedestrian Red Sox fan, getting to relive the excitement of the 2004 World Series, was worth the price of admission. GO SOX !!!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Film Fun

Thanks to all who shared their film favorites. It was fun for me to see what you've been watching over the years. This is a quiet time for film release, so I was happy to add some of your favorites to my rental list!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Heists and Heart

Oceans Twelve brings the Oceans Eleven gang back together. Much of the humor is tongue-in-cheek, as they put together a heist to pay off the first heist (huh?). The con is on the audience half the time. Ocean's Eleven is the better of the two movies, but this is a fun rental. Nice eye candy too!!

Another heist remake out in DVD this week is Criminal. The remake of the Argentinean film Nine Queens (which is well worth renting) has a strong cast and twists and turns nicely. Cons conning cons with millions at stake.

On a more serious subject, Hotel Rwanda is out in DVD this week. This is a story of the horrors that occurred in Rwanda, and how it affected a brave hotel manager and his family. A real eye opener.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Millions is the story of a boy who finds a pile of money. He wants to help the poor, and his brother sees it as a vehicle to possessions and power. Everyone who comes in contact with the money has a different agenda. Danny Boyle brings his beautiful technique, and an air of fantasy and suspense to this film. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Favorites of All Time

I love hearing what people think of films. My favorite morning radio program posed an interesting movie question, and I'd like to put it out there to my friends (thanks K). Has anything you've seen recently made it on to your all time favorite movie list? I posted my Top 10 movie list at the beginning of this blog back in November. The only "recent" films on that list were Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Lost in Translation (sadly displacing My Cousin Vinny and Shawshank Redemption). The most recent film I've seen that comes close to the Top 10, but is number 11 right now, is The Upside of Anger.

As of this date my all time favorite list approaches 50 films, but a little less than half were made in the last 5 years. Kind of interesting to me. I'd love to hear your all time favorite movie(s) and what recent film you've seen that has made it to the top!! Response can be in comment or e-mail ... look forward to it!

Get Inside the Characters

In DVD releases today are 2 films that do a good job helping the viewer get inside the characters.

All in all, Sideways is a wonderful film. Great writing, great acting, and characters with dimension. Some of them you may not like, but you understand them. Payne uses techniques that help us. There is a scene where the characters are drinking, that is shot all wobbly and out of focus, and then you realize he's trying to make you feel drunk to empathize with the character.

In Spanglish one of the characters speaks Spanish most of the time and there are no subtitles. I think this is done so the audience will experience the frustration of the non-Spanish speaking characters that can't understand her ..... very effective!!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sin City

Sin City is a highly stylized adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novels. I know nothing of the man's work, but this film blew my socks off!! It was a creative filmwork collaboration from the master, Robert Rodriguez, and Miller. Mob men chase good guys, chase bad guys, throw in a few prostitutes and, voila, a crazy thriller is born!! I think that the reason the violence doesn't bother me, is that he makes it so obvious that it's fantastical and, by no means, real. The effects are cool, and the use of black and white, with bits of color, are so creative. Every character has it's purpose and, in most cases, menace. I found this film VERY entertaining!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Upside of Anger

Terrific acting, a great script and a story with a bit of a twist, makes The Upside of Anger one of my favorite films so far this year. Joan Allen plays a woman who has to deal with 4 daughters and her own feelings when her husband disappears. Her neighbor gets involved, and relationships are born and progress. The audience I saw this with laughed out loud throughout, but at the moment of high drama, you could have heard a pin drop in that theater.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Something for Everyone

DVD releses this week have something for everyone.

For those up for serious drama, there is Vera Drake. This British film is interesting and well acted, but in the end, very sad.

Looking for something intense, try Closer. This story involes 4 characters that take love, sex, betrayal and decite on an emotional ride. This was one of my favorite films from 2004. Graphic and vulgar at times.

Light action adventure can be found in After the Sunset. Amusing heist film that I found very entertaining.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ashton Who?

I have experienced Ashton Kutcher in film for the first time, and I think I'm smitten! Guess Who? is an entertaining, comedic remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? I liked Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher together, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. A very romantic moment (to me) was the dress Marilyn chose to wear to the party. There were many laugh out loud moments, too! Fun stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bridget Jones vs Bridget Jones

Sequels are tough. Bridget Jones's Diary was one of my favorite films from 2001. From that opening scene of her singing "All By Myself", to the fight scene in the restaurant, to getting the guy, this is one of the few romantic comedies I've enjoyed. The temptation to revisit the lovable Ms. Jones is understandable, but Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is flat and disappointing. I kept waiting to be entertained, but it never happened. Hugh Grant is a breath of fresh air, Daniel Cleaver is still a cad. Another fight scene is the high point. I'll stick with the original.