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.