Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 My Year in Film

It's too early to name my favorite films of 2009, but I thought the last day of the year was a good time to reflect on my film experiences.

Tribeca Film Festival is still my favorite vacation. I met Paola Mendoza after her screening of Entre Nos. Duncan Jones and Sam Rockwell delighted the audience with a Q&A after the screening of Moon. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jones, in June, at Newport Film Festival. I also met Jim Capobianco (Pixar, Leonardo), Scott Teems (That Evening Sun), Nick Paley (Picture Day) and Mimi Kennedy (In the Loop).

Twitter has enhanced my movie experience this year. It's fun for me to follow people like Jason Reitman, Duncan Jones, Jon Favreau, Paola Mendoza and Diablo Coady as they share their creative process, their travels and their thoughts.

This year awakened the sci-fi fan in me. Moon, District 9 and Star Trek will all land in my Top 10. Who knew?!!?

People who've joined me at the movies? Randi, Lucy and Liza joined me at TIFF. After seeing Coraline with my nephews there was an intense discussion. They're still talking about it. I'm also enjoying a long distance film-fan connection with my daughter. She lives 200 mile s away, but the last few films she's seen, I've seen after her. I call, we discuss. It's awesome!

2009 was a fun year in film, stay tuned for my favorites and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

DVD Backlog

With the holidays, I have been remiss on posting the weekly DVD releases. Being totally lazy, here they are as a list. Click on the titles to see what I thought when I saw them ..... enjoy!
(500) Days of Summer
District 9
It Might Get Loud
Paranormal Activity
Jennifer's Body

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

I'll admit I was a bit disappointed in Sherlock Holmes. The story was fine, the acting very good, but this film was work to watch. Dark, lots of quick-cut shots in the fight scenes, poor use of CGI and garbled dialogue. Even with all of this, it's a good film, just wish it had been sharper and easier on the eyes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Up in the Air

Up in the Air is a wonderful commentary on life, life choices and lifestyle. At the center of the film is a company that fires people for corporations. These folks spend the majority of their time on the road, or rather, in the air. The job requires a certain amount of emotional detachment, and their superstar is a master of just that. There is a plot line that I did not expect, that throws an emotional wrench in this man's life path. I'll leave it to the viewer to discover. This is a film that will make you think, will make you laugh, will make you cry. Beautifully shot, well acted, well edited, well done Mr Reitman.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Flick Picks 2009

The Christmas releases in RI are many. I'll list the new ones. Don't forget about Invictus, The Blind Side, Avatar (I hear this is best seen in 3D), Brothers, An Education, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog. Looks like a great Christmas season at the cinema, you know where to find me. Merry Christmas!

New releases in RI:
Up in the Air
It's Complicated
Me and Orson Wells
The Road
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Flick picks 12/18/09

For a movie fan, the weeks around Christmas are maddening. Tons of great film in theaters and no time to see them. I'll take family and friends over film. I know, shocking. So I watch all these great films tumble into theaters on and around Christmas, but they will have to wait a bit for me. What films am I talking about? This week it's Avatar and Up in the Air. Technically, Up in the Air is playing in MA, but Seekonk appears to be the new Providence. (what the hell??) Both will get my attention after Christmas. The Damned United is at the Cable Car, hope they hold it over a few weeks, I'd like to see it in the theater. Bad Lieutenant, Men Who Stare at Goats and The Messenger are at the Avon. At the multiplex? There's drama with The Blindside, Invictus, 2012, New Moon, Precious, Brothers and Everybody's Fine. For the family there's A Christmas Carol, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog. Lots of good stuff playing in (and around) RI this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Men, Monsters and Music in DVD

One of the funniest films I've seen this year is out in DVD. The Hangover made me laugh and it has a solid plot with a few surprises. Inglorious Basterds is a "what if" look at WW II Nazi terrorism. Taking Woodstock is a look at a story that happened on the fringes of Woodstock. In my DVD queue? I'm getting the Basterds to come over and show me some badass.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Cove

Documentary film makes a statement, exposes situations, educates and informs. The Cove is the most powerful documentary I've seen this year. The subject of dolphin capture and slaughter in Japan is something I knew nothing about. As disturbing and suspenseful as this film is, I'm glad there is an invitation to advocacy, action to be taken. This is a powerful, beautiful film that raises awareness and calls us to action. Well done.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The World's Greatest Dad

Often, parents live their lives through their children. The World's Greatest Dad is an amazing parody of this phenomenon.When Lance's son Kyle dies in an embarrassing accident, Lance creates a lie that raises the kid to celebrity, and satisfies his writing frustrations. Kyle is an unlikeable little prick, but by faking a suicide note and journal, his father attains the popularity and success that had always eluded them both. In the end, the truth frees him, and the pain of his son's death is addressed. Things end up as they should. Very dark comedy, and so worth seeing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 12/11/09

Arriving in RI theaters this weekend is the latest from Clint Eastwood, Invictus. The title means "unconquered", and from all I've read, this sport film lives up to it. For families, The Princess and the Frog opens. A strong Disney offering. Speaking of Walt, the documentary Walt and El Grupo is at the Cable Car. Bad Lieutenant:Port of Call New Orleans and The Hurt Locker are at the Avon. Bright Star and An Education are at the Jane Pickens. A good selection in RI art houses. At the multiplex? An Education, Brothers, Everbody's Fine, New Moon, Precious, The Blindside, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and A Christmas Carol, a little something for everyone.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cooks, Crooks and Books in DVD

There is quality film in DVD this week. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a nice addition to the franchise. Julie & Julia says a lot about food, marriage and life. Public Enemies is a strong crime biopic. New releases in my DVD queue? The Cove and World's Greatest Dad. A little something for everyone in DVD this week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Squeezing in a double feature today, I slipped into my seat for Brothers, just as the opening credits began. It took me a while to settle into the plot, but the story of a man with a young family deployed to Iraq, captured, presumed dead, difficult dealings and drama ensue. In the final act of the film I realised that I was fully immersed. I haven't felt that way in a film in a long time. Intense, lovely, gritty and real, this drama is well worth seeing.

Everybody's Fine

With my mother, no matter what, when asked "how are you?" the answer is always "fine". It has a specific, sarcastic tone. The title of Everybody's Fine struck a chord with me and my upbringing. The last time a movie made me cry in the first 15 minutes, I was watching Up. It happened again in the first 15 minutes of this film. This story of a disjointed family is heartfelt. A father tries to stay connected to his grown children, who keep details of their lives from him, so as not to disappoint him. Performances and cast are outstanding. There is something about Sam Rockwell's smile that gets me every time (though I tend to see Sam Bell when I see him these days). A film worth a look.

Land of the Lost

I watched Land of the Lost because it was recommended by Mike Russell and Dawn Taylor on the Hamfisted Radio podcast. This will do well on cable. Goes well with beer.

Things that made me glad I didn't see it in the theater:
Cheesy costumes
Will Ferell
Poop, pee and boob gags
Bad special effects

Things that made me glad I rented this:
Danny McBride
Clever pop culture gags
Hallucination scene
Goof on Matt Lauer by Matt Lauer
A Chorus Line soundtrack as a running gag
Sid & Marty Kroft back at it
Nimoy voice cameo

Thanks guys, when you talk, I rent, and I've yet to be sorry. This one entertained me!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Flick Picks 12/4/09

Not a bad week for weekend releases here in lil ol' RI. Everybody's Fine and Brothers are on my list for this weekend. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, An Education, Precious , Blind Side, Pirate Radio, New Moon, 2012 and A Christmas Carol are all at the multi-plex for your entertainment. Enjoy!!