Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Family, Fashion and Fear in DVD

In DVD release this week, I've seen Everybody's Fine and The Informant! Family drama and insider intrigue in two films I enjoyed. In my rental queue? The Damned United, The Box, Cirque du Freak and The September Issue offer lots of variety in film rentals this week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oscar Nominated Shorts 2010

For the first time ever, I have seen all the Oscar Nominated Shorts. They were released to theaters in 2 programs, Animated and Live Action. The animated films were up first. French Roast, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, Matter of Loaf & Death and The Lady and The Reaper lead the way. The animated program has 3 bonus films as well. Partly Cloudy, Runaway and Kinematograph were films that must have just missed the Oscar list. Oscar nominated Logorama was saved for last, with a warning of violence and language that led a lot of responsible parents to take the kids home. Good film, but smart move on the parents. All different animation styles, funny, emotional and concise. After a bit of a break, the Live Action program began. Kavi, The New Tenants, The Door, Miracle Fish and Instead of Abracadabra were poignant and in the case of New Tenant and Abracadabra amusing. My Oscar choices? The New Tenants and The Lady and The Reaper. If these collections are playing in your area, go!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shutter Island

The movie Shutter Island tells a story where nothing is a s it appears. A federal marshall arrives at Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane, to help find a missing inmate. Is he who he says he is? Is she who she appears to be? Different characters have different perspective and the truth is revealed in the end. An old shoe that doesn't take much to figure out, but the performances and Martin Scorsese's style make it worth a look. Scorsese builds tone and tension through lighting, color and camera angle. A decent flick for this early in the year.

Strange Days

On the strength of the film The Hurt Locker, I wanted to see other work from Kathryn Bigelow. I rented the 1995 film Strange Days. In this story 1999 is presented as futuristic and a guy who sells illegal virtual-reality tapes gets caught up in a murder mystery. A good action flick, though a bit long. Angela Bassett is a fantastic badass. Worth a look.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Notorious (1946)

The Hitchcock film Notorious is a well made spy film from 1946. Every shot is gorgeous, the perspective is meticulous, the suspense palpable. The love story between the two spies is more interesting than the politics, but the audience is given credit for being smart enough to need more than a classic love triangle. Ingrid Bergman plays her Mata Harri character smart, sexy and sweet. Cary Grant has that strong, smouldering thing going on. The music and costumes are the bow that ties this package up nicely. A film well worth seeing.

Friday Flick Picks 2/19/10

What's the big news for me in RI theaters this weekend? Oscar Nominated Shorts at the Cable Car. I'm excited that these are being released to theaters. Adds more dimension to my Oscar Project. And what else? Scorsese's Shutter Island. Also in local movie news, the Providence Journal has stopped printing where and when movies are playing. They print reviews and synopses, but have omitted where and when you can see them. Poor marketing for RI theaters. Sucks, but I guess it's another sign of the demise of print media. In this case, looks to me like they are shooting themselves in the foot. I'll just climb down off my soap box now, and mention that Crazy Heart, Avatar, The Blind Side, The Young Victoria, The Princess and the Frog and Up in the Air are worth checking the Internet for places and times, cuz you won't find the listings in your morning ProJo.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Style, Style, Style in DVD

I haven't seen any of the movies coming out in DVD this week, but the rental queue is full. Coco Before Chanel and Black Dynamite are at the top of my list. The revenge action movie Law Abiding Citizen is out.The documentary Good Hair will make its way into my DVD player as well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Il Divo

I watched the Italian film Il Divo because it is nominated for an Oscar for achievement in makeup. I was treated to a poetic film about the Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andriotti. Depicting the trial for his alleged association with the mafia, murder and kidnapping, this is a dramatic story. Gorgeous cinematography, artistic structure and yes, impressive makeup, this film is worth a look. I wish I had seen it on the big screen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Secret of Kells

The opening night of the Providence Children's Film Festival was an ideal setting to see The Secret of Kells. It was the opening night film, the Cable Car was crawling with kids and their parents, the popcorn was free, there were cupcakes, it was a very festive atmosphere. After all the welcomes, thank yous and introductions, the lights went out and the theater went silent. The beautiful animation and a simple, familiar story unfolded. As the credits rolled there was enthusiastic applause, and a little girl in front of me asked her brother, "did you like it?" He said, "yeah, it was scary, but really good." The drama of young Brendan and the Book of Kells impressed the young man. Though I can see why this film is an Oscar nominee, for me Ponyo should be in that slot. The Secret of Kells arrives in NYC on March 5th and goes wider March 16th. Worth a look.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday Flick picks 2/12/10

So it's Valentine's weekend and guess what the big release to theaters is? Valentine's Day!! A huge all-star cast is tempting for me. Looks light, but that could mean fun. The Wolfman is a close second to getting my box office dollar. Benicio DelToro the draw there. Also worth a look, these Oscar nominees are in RI theaters: Crazy Heart, Avatar, The Blind Side, An Education, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Lovely Bones, The Princess and the Frog, Sherlock Holmes, A Single Man, Up in the Air and The Young Victoria. Enjoy!!

PS Just scored a ticket to see The Secret of Kells at the Providence Children's Film Festival. The Oscar Project goal is once again attainable. woo hoo!!!

Serious Moonlight

In Serious Moonlight, a woman takes extraordinary steps to keep her husband from leaving her. Yes, there is duck tape. Writen by Adrienne Shelly, this film is funny, dark, sweet and surprising. Worth a rental.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Relationships and Resorts in DVD

On the heels of a Best Picture Oscar nomination, A Serious Man is released to DVD this week. Trials and tribulations of a man looking for the answers is true Coen Brothers black humor. In my DVD queue are Serious Moonlight, Peter and Vandy, Bronson and Couples Retreat.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Princess and the Frog

When The Princess and the Frog came out I was annoyed. I find the "prince will rescue me" stories tiresome and demeaning. Because this film was nominated for three Oscars, I grudgingly put it on my list. Thanks to the Academy, I did not miss out on a beautiful, joyful, intelligent film. I love being wrong in a situation like this. The twist on the classic tale is clever and the setting of New Orleans is well done. The animation is beautiful, the story refreshing, the music toe-tappin' and the experience delightful. Loved it! Color me surprised.

The White Ribbon

At the end of The White Ribbon, the audience I saw it with was angry. An intricate who-done-it, set in pre-WWI Germany, just ends. The last time this happened to me at the movies, I was at the same theater, it was the same director and there was almost a fist fight in the ladies room over the ending of Cache. This is a beautiful film, this is a thoughtful film, this is a disturbing film, this a film worth seeing. Glad I did.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Messenger

It is never easy to deliver the news that someone has passed away. The Messenger tells the story of two Army officers charged with informing families when a loved one has been killed in Iraq. The drama is powerful and raw, and after establishing several different scenarios, we see how this assignment effects the men themselves. Woody Harrelson has an Oscar nomination for his role as the experienced officer, but Ben Foster's powerful performance really made this film for me.

The Last Station

The Last Station tells the story of Leo Tolstoy at the end of his life. A passionate, interesting, talented man. Though Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer have collected Oscar nominations for their performances as Tolstoy and the Countess, James McAvoy turns in a strong performance as well. An interesting story, well told.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Flick Picks 2//10

RI film selection leans toward the films of 2009 this week. Dear John and From Paris With Love are getting mediocre reviews, so the better choices are the older films. The Oscar nominees were announced on Tuesday and offers a good list for your film consumption. Oscar nominees in RI theaters are Crazy Heart, Avatar, The Blind Side, Coco Before Chanel, An Education, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Inglourious Basterds, The Lovely Bones, Precious, The Princess and the Frog, Sherlock Holmes, A Single Man, Up in the Air and The Young Victoria. I've seen most of these, so I'm off to Boston theaters to make my "Oscar nominees to see" list shorter. Enjoy!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Otherworld in DVD

DVD releases this week have an otherworldly vibe. Zombieland is a road trip story set in a world of zombies. Very funny. Cold Souls takes us to the other side. An interesting look at mortality. In my queue? The House of the Devil, New York, I Love You and Amelia. Oscar nominations announced this week, get your rentals ready.