Monthly Archives: December 2011
For those of you who wish to see when Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland, Edward Scissorhands) was truly acting and not being a repeat character, this movie is a fine example of Johnny’s acting ability. Depp as Sir James Matthew Barrie was joined by Kate Winslet (Titanic, Revolutionary Road) and Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago, Troy) in this touching movie. The story is a portrayal of the friendship J.M. Barrie formed with a family, that became the inspiration for him, to write the iconic tale, Peter Pan. I thoroughly enjoyed the way this film laid out the pieces of the plot in a gentle, loving way; paying homage to a story that most of us are not only familiar with, but may wish was true for ourselves–not having to grow up. Nominated for best picture and actor; if you are only familiar with Mr Depp’s recent works, then check out this wonderful film.
3 1/2 stars — DVD
If they want to nominate Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Jane Eyre) for an acting role, it should be for his role in this movie. He was excellent, playing the role of psychiatrist, Carl Jung. From the moment his image appeared on the screen, he captured the audience’s attention and did not relinquish it. And the beauty of this film was not only did one get to see his performance; they got to see a 2nd powerful performance in Keira Knightley (The Duchess, Pride & Prejudice) as Sabina Spieirein. Her manic portrayal simply blew me away. And for the last leg of this triad, we have Viggo Mortensen (The Road, Eastern Promises) as Sigmund Freud. He too was excellent in his role, but due to the other two actor’s staging, they simply outshine him. The story for this historical film is about the relationship that gets forged between Jung and his mentor Freud, when a deeply disturbed, but brilliant woman, becomes a patient of Carl Jung. This is a movie worth seeing; I was fascinated with the story and taken away by the acting. What more can one ask from a film?
3 1/2 stars
A new standard in his acting career, the role of Sam Bell played by Sam Rockwell (Frost/Nixon, Iron Man 2) was a subtle, mesmerizing performance. An astronaut who is the lone worker on a moon base, Sam is nearing his 3 year contract, when he begins to hear and see something unusual. His only companion on the base is Gertie, a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses, American Beauty)–think an updated version of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The story captivated me, holding my attention as I marveled at the way the tension was being built up. It is funny, when I hear a movie is a thriller, the first thing that flashes through my mind, is a fast paced movie, filled with action. And here, this movie was exactly opposite but was just as much a thriller as, let us say, Independence Day. This BAFTA winner is a mind bender of a movie that is worth adding to your must see list.
3 1/2 stars — DVD
When I saw the trailer for this movie, I could not wait to see it. Not having read the John le Carre book, I still expected to be fully involved in the story. Unfortunately, the big surprise for me, was the dullness of this film. There were solid actors in the cast, such as John Hurt (V for Vendetta, Alien) as Control; Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, Harry Potter franchise) as George Smiley and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) as Bill Haydon. The film had a great look to it, the period being the cold war during the 1970’s. Sadly, I simply felt some of the scenes were executed poorly and the script was weak. The story has to do with Britain’s intelligence agency having a Russian mole, who might be deeply planted inside of its high ranking personnel. With a cast ensemble such as this one; if there was a good script, this movie could have been a good, cerebral challenge, that would have had the audience on the edge of their seats. I do want to point out that there were some scenes which were well done. Just why couldn’t there be more? After viewing this movie, I do not know if I will read the book.
2 2/3 stars
For the past several years, the hair follicles on my head have been deserting me; so, hair has only been a minor focus for me. This documentary was both informative and funny, with Chris Rock leading us on a fact finding mission, to find out what it means to have good hair. Going from hair salons, to a hair convention, to science labs and even all the way to India–the biggest exporter of hair, Chris hopes to discover the reasons behind the different ways black woman display their hair. In some of the interviews, the responses to Chris’ questions were hysterical; for example, one man said he judges women by their hair style. If they are wearing a weave, he feels they will be a high maintenance woman. I am aware that Chris Rock can be a polarizing entertainer; but, I would like to suggest to you, do not let that get in the way from watching a documentary that will entertain you.
3 stars — DVD
Check you common sense and reasoning at the door, this was strictly a sensory movie. The first 30 minutes dragged for me, not being a fan of the quick cut fighting scenes. Also, I did not like the 1st Sherlock Holmes movie and had no expectations here. With that being said, I have to tell you I enjoyed the performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Me thinks there was more to their bromance and the director, Guy Ritchie, wanted us to be aware of it. For me, I felt he was pandering to the audience. Since I did not have to think much; I have to say, the movie certainly went for the auditory and visual stimulation. I loved the soundtrack as it did not intrude, but helped carry the scenes in an even rhythm. There were enough explosions to make one feel they were at a demolition site–of a mid-sized town. Some of the shots (scenes I mean, not gunfire) were exciting, with a cutting edge, even though the story took place in the late 1800’s. Big, expansive outdoor scenes showed the director’s attention to detail and I appreciated it. The movie was a cat and mouse game as Sherlock Holmes was trying to prevent Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) from starting a world war. As an interesting side note; the female lead, Noomi Rapace, starred in the original movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was an excellent casting call. So, for an easy on the brain, strong on the eyes movie; this would be one to see.
For me, part of the fun of this film was seeing Rupert Grint and Julie Walters together playing different characters. If you do not recognize the names, let me help you–Ron Weasley and his Mom, Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter movies! Julie Walters was wonderful in this movie as Evie Walton, an aging, over the top theatrical actress. Rupert played Ben Marshall, a sheltered 17 year old who had answered her ad for house cleaning. What ensued was a journey that went from madcap adventure, to self discovery, to a caring friendship. As a bonus, at least in my book, was having Laura Linney (Mystic River, The Savages) playing Ben’s conservative Mother. Despite having the image of Mrs Weasley and Ron in my mind, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Or should I say, to keep it in the British vein, this was simply, a jolly delightful movie to experience.
2 3/4 stars — DVD
As I sat watching the credits scroll by, I had to wonder if Garry Marshall directed this movie, just so his family members could get some pocket change. For example, his sister Penny Marshall had a cameo, along with a couple of other Marshall names I saw in the credits. And in regards to the actors; I simply did not get it. A much older Michelle Pfeiffer recreated her mousy character, similar to her catwoman role–prior to donning her skin tight, leather outfit. Then we have Ashton Kutcher, who must have agreed to do this film, knowing he would need a good chunck of change for his future bachelor pad. And what is going on with Lea Michele from Glee? She so desparately wants to do the remake of Funny Girl, that she will do anything to get herself noticed. And don’t get me started on Robert De Niro. This movie was for the most part visual gruel with little substance. I was bored and found the story sophomoric. For the most part we were fed small vignettes of how several people make plans or deal with the New Year’s Eve holiday. This is a movie you would want to see on DVD, playing in the background, as you were cleaning out your closets.
1 1/2 stars
Paul Rudd is such an affable man; he is someone you would want as a relative. In this movie Paul plays Ned, an innocent, pure hearted individual, who after his incarceration, goes to live with his family members. Now you may be asking yourself, “How did an innocent man wind up in jail?” I will let the movie explain it to you. The heart of this movie is watching Paul in the midst of each of his sister’s tumultuous lives. It took a bit of an adjustment to my cynicism to believe Paul with his sisters, played by Elizabeth Banks (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The Next Three Days), Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Lars and the Real Girl) and Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer, Almost Famous). The movie will be easier to believe if you accept Paul Rudd’s character and not expect much. An enjoyable film that may provide a few chuckles for you.
2 1/2 stars — DVD
What I admire about Charlize Theron (The Burning Plain, Monster) is how she does not let her looks interfere with her acting. Her character, Mavis Gary, is a dark, twisted role written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and Charlize does a wicked job with the words written for Mavis. Essentially, she gets the idea that what her lonely life needs is to reconnect with her old high school boyfriend; despite the fact, he is married with a new born child. But that doesn’t deter her from traveling back to her small Minnesota town, where they grew up and where he still lives, to carry out her plan with the determination of a rabid dog. As a counterweight to Charlize’s strong, out of touch character is Patton Oswalt (Big Fan) as Matt Freehauf, a broken soul who has never left the town. With this movie, Diablo recaptures some of her Juno smart, snappy dialog; however, it grows tiresome towards the latter part of the movie. Despite this, I feel the film is worth seeing, simply to marvel at Charlize’s performance. Could an Oscar nomination be kicking at her door?