Monthly Archives: November 2011

Flash Movie Review: Baraka

I am grateful to a couple of friends who mentioned this movie to me. It is simply an incredible experience to sit down and watch. With no dialogue, it is all about the visuals–and it delivers on them. Imagine seeing various parts of the world in a wide spectrum of activities, all from the comforts of your home. I believe, the best way I can convey what this documentary is about, is to tell you this: with majestic cinematic filming, one sees how natural and human events, small or large, have a profound impact on the other. Seriously, do your best to see this amazing film.

3 1/2 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: J. Edgar

A stellar performance by Leonardo diCaprio in this new Clint Eastwood movie is enough reason to see it; albeit, it may be the only reason to do so. I was enthralled with Leonardo’s acting–the look, the speech, the mannerisms–it is Oscar worthy in my opinion. On the down side, the script was weak and a bit silly to me.  Keep in mind, this movie was based on a true story about J. Edgar Hoover and I felt the writer (Dustin Lance Black) took liberties in telling the story, drawing it out more than it needed to be. In regards to Mr. Eastwood’s directing, I was getting somewhat distracted from the constant jumps in time frames. And what was the point of shooting the film so dark, with sharp black and white contrasts? I felt Clint was trying to capture an arty, film noir style and all it did was annoy me. But with all that being said, you should go and see Leonardo in this role–it is amazing.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

Flash Movie Review: Amreeka

A Palestinian mother’s determination to get her son out of the West Bank, to a better life, is the driving force of this independent film.  And of all places, they settle in rural Illinois–talk about cultural shock.  The acting is wonderful on the part of Nisreen Faour, who plays the mother, Muna.  To watch her 16 year old son Fadi, played by Melkar Muallen, find his way through the minefields of high school, brought back some old memories for me.  A touching, sensitive movie that, I hope, gives one pause to look beyond the surface.  Don’t pass this one up.

 

3 1/4 stars — DVD

 

Flash Movie Review: Puss in Boots

Do children find getting hit in the crotch funny?  This is a question I was pondering, while watching this movie.  I felt the writers were tring to appeal to adults and children, yet not being very successful at it.  Granted, I still can appreciate a good story, whether the characters are live or cartoon…or should I now say CGI created?  But I did not find this movie particularly funny or exciting.  The story line was odd, not holding my interest much: Puss in Boots teams up to steal a goose that lays golden eggs.  As for the computer graphic imagery, it was good.  Based on the children’s reactions around me during the movie, I did not think they were much into the movie either.

 

2 stars

 

Flash Movie Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day

Harkening back to those romantic comedies of the 1940’s, this movie was a fun viewing. Frances McDormand plays a dowdy, middle-aged, recently fired, ex-governess in London. When an American actress, played by Amy Adams, hires her to be her “social secretary,” Francis’ character spirals into a world of zany glamour. Amy and Frances were a hoot (yes, I said “hoot”) in this film, as they become a balancing act for each other in the craziness that pops up around them. Additionally, I got a kick out of seeing the art deco set designs and costumes.  For some old fashioned movie watching, I suggest you check this film out.

3 stars — DVD 

Flash Movie Review: Like Crazy

This movie will strike a chord with those of you who have loved someone, who for whatever reason, could not be with you at some time in your life.  The story line is about a British student, in the United States on a student visa, who falls in love with an American classmate.  I am not going to tell you anything more, because it is a common story.  However, the way this film shows us this tale is fresh. Through the young couples’ various emotional states, during different periods of their lives, we watch their relationship rise and fall.  I really enjoyed this movie and had a tear in my eye, while watching the struggles, the despair and the  accelerated excitement when they looked into each other’s eyes after a long absence.  Excellent acting by all.  The softness and progression of this film will recall a fond memory or two for some of you, I believe.

 

3 1/4 stars

 

Flash Movie Review: Who Killed The Electric Car

Having been annoyed by what seems the randomness of daily gasoline price changes, watching this movie made me angry. This documentary focused on the General Motors’ EV1 electric car. You now may be saying to yourself, “I never heard of it.” Exactly and you may get as upset as I did. The vehicle was sold mainly in California. I was astounded to see how the automobile manufacturer, the oil industry, the U.S. government and the California government all played a part in the ultimate demise of this vehicle. I know we are all tired hearing about the different political games, taking place around us; however, I suggest you sit down and be stunned as much as I was when I saw this movie.

 

3 1/4 stars — DVD

 

Flash Movie Review: The Rum Diary

Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name, starring Johnny Depp; I’m guessing Hunter would not be pleased with this meandering movie. Johnny is Paul Kemp, a writer who decides to leave New York City for Puerto Rico, hoping to write for the San Juan Star newspaper. Truthfully, that is about all I got out of this film with its scenes of drunkenness, fights with locals and Johnny Depp following the Johnny Depp method of acting–I was bored for most of the time. From what I briefly know about Hunter S Thompson, he was credited with being the creator of Gonzo journalism, a form of writing where the reporter places himself into the action he is reporting on, becoming almost a central character to the event. If Johnny Depp’s character was supposed to be similar in this movie, it did not come across.

1 1/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: Georgia O’Keefe

What sparked my interest in this movie, besides being fond of Georgia O’ Keefe’s work, was the wonderful Joan Allen. This biopic was Joan’s baby and was released on cable. I enjoyed the quietness, the gentleness of this movie. Add Jeremy Irons as Alfred Stieglitz and watch that gentleness turn into passionate explosions.  Watching Joan as Georgia fight to be heard in a man’s world, to be recognized as an equal against the larger than life Alfred; that underdog determination was well played out in this film. For a change of pace, let time slow down and relax watching this sweet movie.

 

2 7/8 stars — DVD

 

Flash Movie Review: The Skin I Live In

With certain directors, after a time, one expects to see familiar traits: the way a scene is presented; the pacing of it or the way the director tells the story through his camera lens.  In this regards, Pedro Almodovar does not disappoint… for the most part. Antonio Banderas plays a successful plastic surgeon.  Having created an artificial skin, he has been testing it on a woman he keeps captive.  At one point, I was getting a physical reaction to what I was watching on screen and it was not from the scenes that had blood in them.  It was more about the subject matter and the characters’ reactions.  Even though individual scenes were well done, I felt a disconnect between scenes which caused the movie to drag for me.  However, this movie does set a new high standard for what it means to take revenge.  Spanish with English subtitles.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

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