Monday, June 29, 2009

College and Courtship in DVD

Two strong dramas are out in DVD this week. The Education of Charlie Banks is a strong coming of age story. Intense, real and filmed right here in RI. Two Lovers has us watching a man struggle with his love life. Another film with strong performances. Nothing new in my DVD que, I'm watching TV shows on DVD these days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen

Random thoughts after seeing Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen:

Found myself watching the sky and my back driving home. Every vehicle looked ominous to me.

The name Sam Witwickey still cracks me up.

I still can't tell the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon in a battle scene.

Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf's characters should not be a couple. They are more interesting when they bicker, and it looks like they would rather run across the dessert than kiss.

Parts of the film had a very "Indiana Jones" vibe.

The phrase "visual glut" ran through my head as I walked to my car.

The smaller the Decepticon, the creepier they are.

Mudflap and Skids the most unnecessary movie characters, ever.

Still amazed at who survives the robot battles.

The audience cheered at the end of the film.

Monday, June 22, 2009

War and Wonder in DVD

Out in DVD this week is Waltz With Bashir. A stunning drama based on the events of the Lebanon War. In my que is Phoebe in Wonderland. The story of a young girl who uses fantasy to cope. A decent week for rentals, though the releases seem to be sparse lately.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yonkers Joe

Yonkers Joe is a realistic treatment of a father, with a shaky lifestyle, dealing with his mentally challenged son. The son is at a crossroads in his life, and needs his Dad. The struggle of what to do with the handicapped young man, when he gets out of school, is heartfelt. The love in their family, the insight of the young man and the hardship of the situations they must face, reminds us that we all look to our families in adversity. No matter what that family may be. I liked this story. There are ups and downs, the glamor of gambling and the realities of life. A good one for Father's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Hangover

I have been hearing great stuff about The Hangover for weeks now. Today I finally had time to see it and what a pleasure! Four men go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, and they spend the film trying to recall their evening of debauchery and find the missing groom. Funny throughout, quick, tight, surprising, nothing dragged out. This could be the comedy of the summer for me. It earns it's R rating, this is not for the prissy. Leaving the theater, I was walking behind a couple and the woman said to the man, "you are NEVER going to Vegas". Hilarious door to door!

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

I was going to pass on seeing The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 in the theater, but the allure of the classic hostage story and Travolta as the bad ass, drew me to the theater today. The story is your basic nut-job-takes-hostages-and-has-a-gun. There's an economic twist that lends the motivation and fuels the crazy. The performances and the visuals really made it for me. There is a huge jab at authority. The NYPD on souped up motorcycles was ridiculous, but those scenes were easy to ignore. An entertaining film. I'll think of it every time I ride a 6 train *yikes*

Friday, June 19, 2009


In the film Killshot, Micky Rorke proves how freaking cool he can act, Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes nuts and Rosario Dawson and Diane Lane are sorely miscast. A crime film, where the plot is very disjointed. As soon as you have any sympathy for a character, they act crazy. Most dramatic scenes jolt to an end with violence. An OK rental, not sorry I watched it, but flawed.

Friday Flick Picks 6/19/09

Two more comedies land in RI theaters this weekend. The Proposal for romcom fans and Year One for silly comedy fans. Easy Virtue is worth a look and The Girlfriend Experience and Outrage fit the bill for those who like a good art house film. Though there was one screening at NIFF a few weeks ago, RI gets no love from Sony as it expands it's release of Moon to San Diego, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. But, if you take a quick ride to Waltham, MA this weekend, you can catch it at the Embassy Cinema (one of my favorite theaters in southern New England). Nice brew pub down the street, take Dad for a fun Father's Day. Up, Star Trek, The Hangover, Drag Me to Hell, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 are in theaters and worth a look.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Racing in DVD

One of my favorite films of 2008 is out in DVD this week. Morning Light is the inspiring story of a group of young people in the Transpac sailing race. A great story for both sailors and landlubbers. Well worth a rental.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Girlfriend Experience

My kids are pretty adventurous when it comes to going to the movies with me. They are now young adults, so it is fun to take them to mature films, especially when I visit them in NYC. On my most recent visit, there was a long list of good films to see. I've been reading a lot about The Girlfriend Experience making the rounds at film festivals. I'm a big fan of Steven Soderberg, so that was the film choice of the day. The story of a high price escort, her boyfriend and the folks she meets trying to advance her career, is well acted and interesting in character motivations. There was an emotional factor I did not expect. This one gave us a lot to talk about over cocktails and dinner. Worth a look.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 6/12/09

There is a nice assortment of films in RI theaters this week. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and The Brothers Bloom open here today. You can build your own little film festival with Every Little Step, The Limits of Control, The Merry Gentleman and Tokyo Sonata. Up, The Hangover, Drag Me to Hell, The Soloist, Night at the Museum:Battle at the Smithsonian and Star Trek are all worth a look. If you are reading this from NY or LA you can see Moon this weekend. What's Moon, you say? Keep reading..........

Friday Flick Pick is Moon

I usually stick to RI openings on Fridays, but this week there is a limited release that is worth mentioning. Moon opens in NY & LA today, and then expands to places like Boston, Chicago and San Francisco the following week. I'm hoping it will be in small markets like RI by July. Moon is the story of an astronaut at the end of a 3 year assignment on the moon. Things begin to unravel and .... nuff said ... see it. Why do I care? Why do I want folks in NY & LA to see it right now? Two reasons. First, I saw this film at Tribeca Film Festival and was blown away. It is smart, clever, compelling and deserves to be seen on a big screen. Well written and produced, this is a gorgeous film and Sam Rockwell gives an outstanding performance. I love having a good film to recommend. Second, I met the young director, Duncan Jones, in Newport last week (I was his driver). He is polite, charming, smart, friendly, energetic, funny and hard working. This is his first feature film, and he has been working hard to get the film out to a lot of audiences. I want this guy to make more movies! If Moon does well, he'll have the room to do that. It's times like this that I wish I were a better writer, my reviews are often awkward. This reviewer does a better job than me, have a look. This interview with Jones says a lot as well, and I was at that screening! People often ask me what movies to see. These days my answer is one word, Moon. A film I can't wait to see again! See it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guerrilla Drive-ins

For anyone who likes drive-ins this is a hoot! Check it out.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

NIFF 2009 Final Day

On the final day of Newport International Film Festival, I slept till 9 AM! Whew, I was getting worried. I fielded a phone call that confirmed a departure time, took a shower, programed the GPS for Logan Airport, rejoiced at the beautiful sunshine and got myself to Newport for the last act. The awards ceremony was in full swing, films were running, departures were underway and my passengers for the trip to Boston were ready to go. The ride to Logan airport was smooth, and I was back in Newport in 4.5 hours. L1 was not happy. I was. Said my good byes and when the last departure left the office, so did I. Ran into Jim Capobianco on my way out and had a lovely chat about is new short, Leonardo, family and film.

So who were my faves? Duncan Jones (Moon), Paola Mendoza (Entre Nos), Scott Teems (That Evening Sun), Alex Olch (The Windmill Movie), Dave Wruck (Haze), the NIFF staff, volunteers and all those folks who would walk into the box office, read the sign that said "transportation" and asked, "tickets?". It's been fun, thanks to NIFF for letting me sit a little closer to all the film and film makers I love!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

NIFF 2009 Day Four

I'm a bit concerned that I keep waking up before the alarm with a minimal amount of sleep, but I'm going with it. Back to film festival today with just a few arrivals. The larger task of the day was scheduling all the departures for Sunday and recovering guests from the Gala down at the Rotunda on the beach. Ticket sales were brisk and discussion panels were going on in the next room. The place was buzzing, but we kept to the task at hand. I let Nina borrow my car to go get ready from the party and when she returned it, I was a passenger on the ride to the gala. She lives in NYC, so I think she liked getting behind the wheel, and I sure enjoyed being a passenger for a little while. Driving folks home from the party was an adventure, as much alcohol had been consumed and I received many thanks and a few kisses for the rides. There was a lot of film chat about movies people have seen over the last few days. It's a good program this year and the reaction has been very interesting. The films chosen for NIFF this year have generated some of the best film chat I've heard in a long time. Films that are generating the loudest buzz so far? Moon, Entre Nos, The Way We Get By, P-Star Rising, Humpday and (500) Days of Summer. More old friends arrived today, the reunions continue!

Friday, June 05, 2009

NIFF 2009 Day Three

What a day, here's how a big arrival day at Newport Film Festival went down for me:
Step 1:Go to work, take care of details for the day there.
Step2: Pick up film maker at airport, drop in Newport after helping him buy an umbrella.
Step 3: Pick up guest in Newport and take her to airport.
Step 4: Go back to work and run around like a maniac to get week finished there.
Step 5: Pick up film makers at train station and bring to Newport in the pouring rain.
Step 6: Get to chat with lots of film makers through the course of the day. What a friendly crew!
Step 7: Drive people from theaters to Boom Boom Room, because it is pouring rain.
Step 8: Home to bed, what a great day!

Friday Flick Picks 6/5/09

Light comedy invades theaters this weekend with The Hangover, My Life in Ruins, and Land of the Lost. Up, Star Trek and Drag Me to Hell are all worth a look, especially Up. Newport International Film Festival is in full swing. Moon, Entre Nos, That Evening Sun, P-Star Rising and (500) Days of Summer all good choices. Lots to pick from, film festival is a great place to be!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

NIFF 2009 Day Two

Since I live near the airport, I volunteered to pick up a film maker first thing this morning. Scott Teems is bringing his film, That Evening Sun, to Newport Film Festival for a few days (tonight's screening is sold out). He's a friendly young man, who spoke of his work and his family on our ride into town. On my return to Newport,I found that a driver was stuck in gridlock traffic coming back from Boston and the film maker's lounge was open. There were more arrivals over the afternoon, tickets were selling briskly at the box office and arrivals continued late into the night. When Alex Olch, of the The Windmill Movie, was safely deposited at his B&B I headed home to sleep. More film and film folk tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

NIFF 2009 Opening Day

Normally, Newport International Film Festival starts with one film on the opening night. This year, with a new executive director at the helm, it was a full day of film. I'm back at the transportation desk, dispatching drivers to train stations, airports and round town to get everyone where they need to go. One of my favorite weeks of the year! Last night L1 fetched Jim Capobianco, of Pixar fame, from Boston, to join us for the screening of his short film Leonardo this morning. Jim presented his short, Your Friend the Rat, at NIFF last year. He was one of the screenwriters on Ratatouille and is an excellent presenter and animator. We're thrilled he's here. The opening night film was In the Loop, a satire with a wonderful cast. Mimi Kennedy and Zach Woods are here. As the parade of film makers walked by our desk, I was grinning like a kid in a candy store. It's going to be a fun week, lots of old friends, lots of interesting film folk and lots of great film. Stay tuned .......

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


The film Sugar starts out looking like a baseball success story. An unsure and talented Sugar comes to the US, from the Dominican Republic, to play baseball. He finds himself in a world where he has difficulty communicating, and as he rises in the system, he meets challenges. For me this film was more about fitting in, learning limits and facing reality. So well done, so worth seeing.

Paul Blart:Mall Cop

Paul Blart:Mall Cop is entertaining enough. A comedy about a loser who is a security guard at a shopping mall. There is love, there is a robbery, there is a chase, there is rescue. The good guys win, the boy gets the girl. Entertaining enough.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Suburbs and Sanctuary in DVD

Out in DVD this week, I've seen Revolutionary Road. A couple with hope and dreams, spiral into depression and despair. Stellar drama, tough subject. Also out in DVD is Defiance. The true story of Jews who hid from the Nazis during WW II, in the woods, for 2 1/2 years. The depiction is graphic and inspiring. Happy viewing!