Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/31/08

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is back in theaters for Halloween. So cute! This weekend we have the Changeling, Zach and Miri Make a Porno, RocknRolla and What Just Happened? arriving in RI theaters. All four are on my list for the weekend. Morning Light is still playing at the Opera House in Newport, well worth a look. Eagle Eye, Body of Lies, The Secret Life of Bees, W., The Duchess and High School Musical 3 round out a movie lineup that is chock full this week. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LAMB #200 Is This Seat Taken?

I'm not much of a joiner. Exhibit #1 is the awesome website LAMB (The Large Association of Movie Blogs). I have stalked this site from it's birth, and regularly add its members to my Google Reader list. I've watched, read and commented for the last year. I was invited to join a few times in comments, and when I finally caved, I got to be #200. Sweet deal! I write my blog as a journal of my film consumption. I've had the benefit of meeting interesting people and learning a lot along the way, LAMB just adds to the mix. Film is such a wonderful hobby for me, happy to have folks reading here.

Morning Light

I have been around sailboats my whole life. Growing up in "the ocean state", learning to sail was mandatory in my family. I saw it as a pleasant past time, and dipped my toe in the racing world a little when I was young. As an adult, I had the privilege of crewing on an Etchells (one-design race boat) in Newport for about 5 seasons. I learned a lot about the world of competitive sailboat racing. There were lessons from our races, and lessons from the conversations at cocktail parties. I met some very interesting people, and heard a lot of great stories.

When I first heard of the film Morning Light, I was impressed that Disney would choose this sport for the subject of a feature film. Then I learned of Roy Disney's love of sailing, and experience with ocean racing, and it all made sense. Disney recruited 15 young people to sail the 52 foot, high performance, ocean racer (TP52), Morning Light, in the TRANSPAC. He's done it himself. It's a sailboat race from Los Angeles, CA to Diamond Head, Hawaii. Yeah, that's 2500 miles (it takes 6-10 days, depends on the wind). For the non-sailor, Morning Light is a human drama. People who revel in the accomplishments of bright, young people will enjoy this. For those in the sailing world, this is a racing drama. Go north? Go south? Where's the wind? Where's the competition? They had some pretty cool technology. I liked all the training they went through before the race. This film is worth a look.

Stay through the credits, a few of the guys on the team are also musicians. They wrote and performed the closing song. BTW many of the team members have RI connections. Remember, it's the "ocean state".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Women (1939)

I cannot bring myself to see the current film adaptation of The Women. A bunch of women nattering over their love lives, successful or failed, sends me out of the room. But I'm curious, so I rented the 1939 version of the film (newly released to DVD), to check out the story. The play enjoyed 666 performances on Broadway. Set in the late 30s, when divorce was handled on a trip to Reno, and high society women were expected to "suck it up" when their husbands strayed, it becomes a bit of a caricature for the contemporary viewer. Add the high fashion element, and we have an interesting film. Warning: the run time of 2 hours 12 minutes makes this a little bit of a project to watch, but it's worth it.
Fun facts:
The film has a large, all female cast (even the animals). Men are spoken of, but never seen.
There is a fashion show in the middle of the film that is in color, the rest of the film is in black and white.
The sets are fun to look at, especially Crystal's bathroom. (a glass tub)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cons in DVD

Kit Kittredge:An American Girl is a solid family movie out in DVD this week. I liked the story and the acting in this one, not just for the kids. The film Death Defying Acts is in my rental que. An affair of Harry Houdini's is dramatized in this film. Con artists bring the action in both films. Check it out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

50 Favorites

Over at Blog Cabins, the challenge went up to folks to blog their 50 favorite films. As Fletch states, " favorite films, not necessarily the best of all time". For years, I have kept a list of my favorites, so I'm going to grab 50 from that list (I think it's approaching 100). The top 10 are the only ones I keep in order of favor, the rest look semi-chronological. A fun exercise, try it.

Pulp Fiction
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Mary Poppins
Fight Club
Monsters, Inc.
Little Miss Sunshine

Lost in Translation
From Dusk till Dawn
Benny & Joon
Million Dollar Baby
Shawshank Redemption
My Cousin Vinny
Angels In America
Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Godfather Part 2

Life is Beautiful
The Last Waltz
Pieces of April
The Red Violin
American History X
The Usual Suspects

Nine Queens
Groundhog Day
The Hours
Rivers and Tides
All That Jazz
Wedding Crashers

A Scanner Darkly
The Departed
The Host
The Dark Knight

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/24/08

Hold on to your hats kids, High School Musical 3: Senior Year arrives in theaters this weekend! The fans go nutty for this franchise. Another popular franchise, at the opposite end of the spectrum, releases Saw V. Needless to say, the multiplexes will be crawling with kids this weekend! Also worth seeing, there's Pride & Glory, Body of Lies, W., The Duchess and Eagle Eye. On a lighter note The Secret Life of Bees, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Morning Light are still in RI theaters. Fireproof arrives this weekend as well. Something for everyone, happy viewing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Next stop on my quest for satisfying political film fare, is Oliver Stone's Nixon. I was in Washington, DC, on a girl scout field trip, while the Watergate hearings were being held. The mood in town was sober and tight lipped. A tough time for American politics. The film, Nixon, is an interesting interpretation of the political rise and fall of Richard Nixon. The performances are wonderful. Dramatic and true to the tone of the events. Stone edits dramatization with newsreel footage for a dramatic, historical effect. I liked this film a lot. In a way, inspiring (watch the credits). As an aside, check out the film Dick, for a lighter (but pretty accurate) depiction of this time in history.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After seeing W. I felt a hankerin' for more satistfying Oliver Stone, political fare. I stopped on the way home, and rented JFK and Nixon. With a running time of 205 minutes, JFK felt the most daunting to sit through. I started the film Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, I had experienced an intense crime drama with political conspiracy undertones. The victim, John F. Kennedy. The crime, his assassination. The criminal, Clay Shaw, the only person ever (unsuccessfully) prosecuted for the murder of our 35th president. Fascinating speculation and evidence. A huge, all-star cast makes the film all the more interesting (lots of TV actors) and Kevin Costner, as New Orleans DA , Jim Garrison, is riveting. Took me a while, but I'm glad to have finally seen this one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Invasions and Incredible in DVD

Buckle up folks, The Incredible Hulk is out in DVD this week! A fun action ride with a decent story, I liked this one. In my DVD que, a home invasion and senseless terror come to the screen in The Strangers. Sounds like a rip off of Funny Games.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I've been mildly amused by the confusion surrounding the pronunciation of the new Oliver Stone film W. Some pronounce it "dub-el-yew" and are corrected, or correct themselves, to say "dub-ya". To me, that's the most entertaining thing about this film. Ever since this project was announced, I can't think of any other political figure I find less interesting. The redeeming quality of the film are the performances. The actors bring their A-games, Josh Brolin disappears inside the character of George W. Bush. I found the events depicted in W. to be disturbing, and a dark piece of American history. Politics is a complicated subject. The activities and decisions behind the scenes are not always what we want to hear. This film had me shaking my head.


The film Deception is your typical bait and switch crime drama. Sex, money and lies drive the plot. The ending was a little more clever than I expected. A decent rental.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

Strong women are the centerpiece of the film The Secret Life of Bees. Based on the popular novel, a young girl from a turbulent, unusual childhood, searches for the truth about her deceased mother. Within that truth, lies her self-worth. On the advent of the Civil Rights Act, in 1964, this story takes place in a south that tosses the "n word" and women around, both physically and emotionally. The girl seeks refuge from her life, in the home of three sisters with an interesting history, level heads and a lot of love. Being with these women, her life mysteries are solved. A very nice story. I thought the performances were excellent. ** Program note - bring Kleenex.

The Duchess

I went to see The Duchess based on the expectation of an Oscar nomination for the costumes. I did not expect to see an emotionally wrenching story. The Duchess of Devonshire was a British woman who followed the rules of British aristocracy, but really wanted to follow her heart. The love of a mother for her children, rules her decisions. The pace of the film is a bit slow, but the story is well worth telling.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

I heard Morgan Spurlock in an interview on my favorite morning radio show a few months ago. Smart, funny, energetic, this film maker dives into his topics. This is the guy who ate only McDonald's food for 30 days *yikes* In the film, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, he travels the Middle East looking for Osama Bin Laden, no kidding. To prepare for his trek, Spurlock underwent training and education in personal defense and Middle East customs. He travels from country to country asking folks on the street if they know where Bin Laden is. They speculate on which country he is in, and many just point to the mountains. An interesting exercise.

Friday Flick Picks 10/17/08

In RI theaters this week, we've got W. A Hollywood treatment of the early and present life of George W. Bush. Reviews are mixed. Morning Light, Max Payne, Sex Drive, Frozen River and The Secret Lives of Bees open here as well. Body of Lies, Nick & Norah's Infinite Play List and that crazy Beverly Hills Chihuahua are grabbing most of the box office dollars. When I look at the list of films in theaters, I notice most all have gotten mixed reviews. Makes it a little tougher to plunk down the movie dollar, but we know I will. Morning Light, The Duchess, Frozen River and The Secret Lives of Bees will probably get my cash this weekend. Don't forget about City of Ember, Eagle Eye and The Express ..... whew! There's a lot out there, enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indy, Inc, Intense and Icon in DVD

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes out in DVD this week. A fun addition to the franchise, worth a look. I saw the futuristic, wacky, political satire, War, Inc. at Tribeca Film Festival this year. A crazy ride, only for those with a taste for strong satire. 4 months, 3 weeks,2 days is a thoughtful, depressing drama, well written and acted. The subject is unwanted pregnancy and abortion, intense and sad. Mongol is a beautiful film that recreates the early life of Genghis Khan. A foreign film I enjoyed with both my parents, and had fun discussing with my daughter. An interesting week for DVD releases.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Know Where I'm Going

I appreciate a good film recommendation, from a dependable source. In the case of I Know Where I'm Going!, the source was David Letterman. In an interview with Tilda Swinton, he brought up the Scottish film. Swinton and their conversation became so animated, I immediately put the film in my rental que. Made in 1945, this charming story of a woman traveling to remote Scotland to marry her dream husband, is derailed by chance, weather and love. A good story, beautiful scenery and men in kilts *sigh*. (I wish I could remember where I learned the song featured in this film) I've always respected Letterman's taste in film, this was a good one. Thanks Dave!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Three Faces of Eve

On the passing of Paul Newman, I realized that I was not very well versed in Joanne Woodward's work. I rented The Three Faces of Eve to see her Oscar-winning performance. Intense and sympathetic, the film tells the true story of a woman who suffered from multiple personalities. A sensitive treatment of a difficult subject. Excellent film.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

I needed a laugh today, so my choice for a Saturday matinee was How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. I was a little disappointed. It was just OK. An aspiring journalist is reduced to the tabloid level of celebrity nonsense. There were all kinds of opportunities for meaty story lines, but they never quite took hold. The performances were fine, but the story was weak. Too bad, it's a decent premise. Might work as a rental.

Taxi to the Dark Side

I have met several Oscar winners over the years, it's always a thrill. In 2007, I met Sloane Klevin, a producer on Taxi to the Dark Side. Who knew that this documentary, from director Alex Gibney, would win the Oscar? Out in DVD, this is an unnerving film about American interrogation tactics in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay since 2002. A taxi driver is detained in Afghanistan, tortured and killed. Well made, this film investigates the circumstances of his death and techniques used on detainees. The details of incarceration in the detainee camps is eye opening. Disturbing stuff.

Body of Lies

Leonardo DiCaprio has become an actor whose work I seek out. Intense, charming and strong, his performances are solid. In Body of Lies, he joins Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe in an adaptation of a novel about the CIA trying to battle terrorists in the middle east. His character, Roger Ferris, works with Jordanian intelligence to flush out the terrorist leader. It is a complicated story, that is difficult to follow at times. The politics and culture are confusing, actions and motivations are not always clear. What is clear, is that Ferris is trying to do the right thing, and he has a lot of opposition, even from his boss. A good political thriller that brings the mess of the situation in the middle east, global politics and intelligence tactics to the screen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/10/08

I was surprised how many movies I marked in the paper this morning. Nine! Appaloosa, Blindness, City of Ember, The Duchess, The Express, Flash of Genius, Ghost Town, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and Miracle at St. Anna. Whew, I've got a lot to do! Also worth a look in theaters are Body of Lies, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. For the kids there's Igor. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Nick & Norah's Infinte Playlist

In Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Nick and Norah are smitten with each other. One night in New York City becomes a flirtations quest. Both are quietly looking for love, both are looking for Where's Fluffy? (a band) and Norah's looking for her drunk friend Caroline. The chemistry between Nick and Norah works, but the most interesting characters are found in the supporting cast. Nick's friends are hilarious, drunk Caroline is pitch perfect in some very funny scenes. There is a running gag with a piece of gum that made me laugh and cringe. This is a gentle teen comedy that is worth your time, this will be a great rental.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Visitor, Virus and VanSant in DVD

In DVD this week, is The Visitor. A good drama that deals with immigration and friendship. In my DVD que are The Happening (a psychological thriller) and Paranoid Park (indie drama).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Eli Joseph born Oct. 1, 2008

I've taken a little break from my movie attendance this weekend, to welcome my first grandson, Eli. Born on Wednesday, October 1st, he is the son of my daughter Melanie and her husband Joe. I live 200 miles away, so I jumped in the car on Wednesday, to visit the happy family.

While they were at the hospital, I hung out with their dog Gonzo. We walked, we played fetch, we snuggled. Gonzo is my buddy.
There were a lot of visitors when Eli, Melanie and Joe got home. Cousins, Sam, Jonah and Adam welcomed the newest addition to the Tuazon family boy band.
Aunt Liza and Uncle Ryan came by to visit too. Liza has declared Eli "the cutest thing in the universe ... ever!" Eli is an exciting addition to our family. Just thought I'd do a little internet bragging, as Grandmas will do! I'll let you know when I take him to his first movie.....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Flick Picks 10/3/08

I'm in New Jersey this Friday to meet my new Grandson, Eli. Arriving on Wednesday, he has become the center of attention in our family. A lot of new movies arrive in theaters this weekend. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Appaloosa, Blindness and How to Loose Friends & Alienate People. I don't think I'll have time for any of these this week, but I'll be back in the theater soon. Right now I'm staring at the adorable little Eli.