Sunday, May 31, 2015

Crash (1996)

I know that David Cronenberg's films tend to be a bit perverse, but the film Crash was a bit much for me. The characters are constantly having sex or on their way to have sex or talking about sex. Some of the sex did not even look physically possible. I realized that watching others have sex is boring and the characters in this film were sad and deranged to me. Not a fan.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Animated Voices - Vulture Festival 2015

I learned of the Vulture Festival through a comment Tig Notaro made on the Professor Blastoff Podcast. The date caught my ear because I was going to be in NYC that weekend. I looked at the schedule and bought a ticket for a panel called Animated Voices on the Saturday afternoon. The Milk Studios are a beautiful venue and I chose a seat second row center. When the talented voice actors took the stage and read scripts as their characters, I was in heaven. Alex Borstein, John Roberts, Larry Murphy, Heather Lawless, Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas were on the stage. They performed Who's On First, and scenes from Shawshank Redemption, Fresh Prince, The Breakfast Club and Mad Men. The funniest scene was the contract scene from Fifty Shades of Grey read by Teddy and Linda Belcher of Bob's Burgers. I think everyone in the room was crying because they were laughing so hard. Absolutely brilliant. This was a very well run event, and I'm going to plan to go next year and bring a friend!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Pitch Perfect, so I felt pretty good going into Pitch Perfect 2. Structurally this movie is a mess. All over the place and choppy, with so much uncomfortable, inappropriate, lazy humor. There are a lot of crazy cameos, some work some don't. The singing is still strong and the production numbers do not disappoint. I especially liked an underground battle scene. This movie lacks structure, but is still enjoyable. I thought the end credit scene was hilarious!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Continuing the superhero saga Avengers: Age of Ultron catches up with The Avengers as they move on and deal with life, politics and threats to the world. Mad-crazy fight scenes and a little more delving into the personal thoughts and feelings of the characters, gave this movie more dimension than I expected. I found the ending very satisfying and I'm ready for the next chapter.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


After seeing Brad Bird at Tribeca Film Festival I was looking forward to seeing Tomorrowland. This film starts strong with visions to the future, AI, gadgets and strong characters seeking a better world. In the third act it is reduced to robot battles and sermons about saving mankind from itself. In all, well done, but a bit preachy at the end. Loved the visuals.

Fay Grim

My next step down the Hal Hartley path is the film Fay Grim. As Fay tries to pick herself up from the shit-storm that was Henry Fool, she finds herself in the middle of an espionage drama of international proportions. I love this story, I love the film structure, I love the absurdity, I love the performances. Another masterpiece from Mr. Hartley.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Henry Fool

In a late night show interview I learned of Hal Hartly. Renting Henry Fool was my first step in learning about the man's work. Henry Fool is a charismatic guy who is nothing but trouble, but oh the people he effects! Leaving chaos in his wake, he moves into the lives and hearts of the Grim family. People who are flawed in their own ways, struggling to find themselves. Henry encourages the brother down a creative road, and seduces the sister. Both relationships take crazy, violent turns and wait till you meet Ned. Loved this film and look forward to spending more time with these characters.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


There was a lot of buzz around Cake during award season. Specifically, the performance from Jennifer Aniston. Against type, she takes on scars both physical and emotional, as a woman who has suffered a tragedy and is bitter as hell. The events of the incident unfold slowly through conversations and hallucinations of a woman who took her own life. Interesting story structure and good performances make this film a decent rental.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

The visual feast that is Mad Max: Fury Road impressed the shit out of me. A chase out of the Capital is eye-popping and action packed. We get to know the characters while traveling with them at break-neck speeds. There is gunfire, explosions and blaring music as the good guys flee the bad guys. This film immerses the viewer in a world of struggle, survival, hope and comaraderie. I could watch this one again.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Cobbler

I like Adam Sandler in dramas. In The Cobbler he gets to work a drama that has light moments and a bit of fantasy. When a cobbler takes on the form of the person whose shoes he puts on he goes down a criminal road. Can he help? Can he make a difference? I thought this film was clever and I liked the ending. Decent rental.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Against the Sun

Survival stories make for high drama. In Against the Sun we see another WWII drama that astounds, as three men survive for 34 on a life raft. What is done with this small setting and small cast is impressive. I thought this was a strong rental.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Red Balloon (1956)

I first saw The Red Balloon when I was in elementary school. I think it was for a French class. I was probably 9, yet I remembered it well. Recently, my Dad told me that he had seen a wonderful, simple film on TCM. It was The Red Balloon. This led me to rent the film and re-watch it 50 years later. What a pleasure. The themes of devotion, friendship and resilience are well done in a sweet, simple film. Gorgeous.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Ex Machina

Reading the buzz on Ex Machina everything I read said "see it." I'm not always in on sci-fi, but I had to check it out. What I found was an intricate story that leads us one way then goes another. The technology combined with human emotions and reactions manipulates the audience beautifully. Loved this film, can't wait to see it again.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Middle of Nowhere

The director Ava DuVernay burst on the scene with Selma last year, but in 2012 she directed a film called Middle of Nowhere. A strong, quiet drama that depicts relationships, strength and endurance. Can a relationship survive separation and temptation? Well acted and shot. This was a good rental.