The change is so minuscule you would not even be aware of its importance. Years later you may look back and remember it, realizing it was a warning for the oncoming seismic shift about to take place. For some the process is slow and drawn out; the occasional forgetfulness does not seem to be a big deal. Who has not forgotten where they put their house keys or forgotten a word now and then? But later on it becomes more frequent; think of it as a change from autumn to winter. Picture a majestic wide tree with a multitude of branches that curl and twist outward, filled with a thick abundance of leaves. Slowly the rich dark green of the leaves starts to fade, becoming less vibrant. The leaves that had been stretching wide like the palms of many hands were all beginning to close into gnarled fists. Memory drips out of the mind, falling away on a current of air like shriveled leaves; until the tree is laid bare. You may think the person is trapped inside their body but that is not the case; they are no longer there. You only have a living picture of who they were and even that begins to shut down due to the lack of electrical pulses from the expired brain. This is what can happen when someone has Alzheimer’s disease. JULIANNE Moore (Non-Stop, What Maisie Knew) played linguistics Professor Alice Howland. As an author and expert in her field, how was it possible that she was beginning to forget her words? This film festival winning drama’s success was all due to Julianne Moore. She was remarkable in this role, playing a middle-aged woman with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. There was one scene in particular where she was looking at her younger self and it amazed me how different she made the two images look on screen. I can understand now why she won the Golden Globe award. Some of the other actors in this film were Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice, 30 Rock-TV) as John Howland, Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns, Blue Crush) as Anna Howland-Jones and Kristen Stewart (Twilight franchise, On the Road) as Lydia Howland. Everyone did a good job of acting; however I really did not get Kristen. It seems like she is doing the same thing in every movie; I have not seen her display any emotional variety with any of the characters she has played. Due to Julianne’s dominant performance, this drama has an effect on the viewer. Not to be funny here, but it seems as if I am paying more attention now when I forget something.
3 1/3 stars
When a loved one that was part of your life is no longer there, the unconscious breath becomes a daily chore. The echo of your heartbeat has stopped reverberating in the soft walls of your mind. Each following day, the weight of your body remains rooted in your legs, forcing them to struggle whenever you are in an upright position. Your pristine eyes that were clear and bright, only record blurred moist images now. I have been there and I am sure many of you have been too. That is why I could understand the couple’s pain regarding their loss in this dramatic movie. Married couple Lois and Douglas “Doug” Riley, played by Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Frozen River) and James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly, The Sopranos-TV), were only going through the motions each and every day after the death of their daughter. The two were not really living anymore. On a business trip to New Orleans, Doug decided he was going to stay after meeting young stripper Allison alias Mallory, played by Kristen Stewart (Twilight franchise, The Runaways). By discovering what he was missing, could Doug begin to live again? Creating such broken characters and then letting James and Melissa delve into them, made for a powerful performance. I could feel how their pain was keeping them stagnant. Though I am not a fan of Kristen’s acting, I will say her style of performing lent itself to making her character believable for me. At times I had to wonder if some of the trio’s acting was being ad libbed because it came across as natural conversation. This Sundance Film Festival nominee was a surprise find for me. I did not have to understand how Doug and Lois dealt with their loss; I just wanted to be there for them. Strong language.
3 stars — DVD
Heads will roll if you mess with Bella’s child…and they certainly did in this final chapter of the movie series. After yesterday’s review that talked about the bond between mother and child, we have here another example of a parent’s love for their offspring. In this movie there was a new and improved Bella, played by Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Runaways). With the birth of her daughter Renesmee, Bella would need to master all of her new found vampire abilities if she was going to keep her child safe. The reason being there was something special about Renesmee that threatened the Volturi and its leader Ado, played by Michael Sheen (Midnight in Paris, Frost/Nixon). Since I did not read any of the Twilight books I do not know how closely this movie followed the novel. The story picked up right where the previous film ended, with Bella having turned into a vampire. I had hoped with this new Bella there would have been a better acting job from Kristen, but that was not the case. She never looked happy, with only a couple of emotional facial expressions, that honestly looked like she was a mouth breather. Robert Pattinson (Water for Elephants, Cosmopolis) as Edward Cullen played the role with a slightly more relaxed feel to it. As for Taylor Lautner (Abduction, Valentine’s Day), he did not bring anything new or special to his Jacob Black character. The first half of the movie was slow for me. I found it to be syrupy and melodramatic, with its heavy musical accompaniment. What I found odd was how some vampires had unique special skills. It was as if the writers forgot they were dealing with vampires and writing instead for X-Men characters. The last half of this action film had a buildup of tension that led to an epic battle, with a couple of interesting twists thrown into the mix. On a whole the writers of this movie sucked the life out of the story, giving me only an ok movie experience. I was disappointed I could not sink my teeth into something good.
2 1/3 stars
After trashing Kristen Stewart’s (Twilight franchise) performance in Snow White and the Huntsman, I found it an interesting coincidence that her movie The Runaways came in the mail this past week. Playing rocker Joan Jett, Kristen redeemed herself by doing a better job of acting here than as Snow White. This biopic was about the formation of the all girl band The Runaways. With the help of seedy manager Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Revolutionary Road); Cherie Currie, played by Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire, The Secret Life of Bees), was brought in to be the sexy lead vocalist. How many of us can say they saw that musician or band before they became famous? I do not know whether everything in this movie was true; for example, Kim bringing in kids to heckle and throw things at the girls while they performed. Truthfully, it did not matter to me for the story kept my interest. On a sour note, I thought the directing did not serve this movie well. Seeing the abundance of drugs and alcohol that played a part in the girls’ every day life became monotonous for me. Seeing what these pioneers of punk went through, especially with Joan’s determination, I have a new appreciation for their music.
2 2/3 stars — DVD
Having an aunt who was a sergeant in the Women’s Army Corps, I am familiar with what makes up a strong woman. My friends were always scared of her, because she would make them give her a solid handshake. Putting a different spin on the Snow White story; the writers of this action film created a strong Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart (Twilight franchise, The Runaways). This Snow White was a fighter; determined to reclaim her right to the throne after escaping imprisonment by the Queen, her step mother. The problem I had with this was the casting of Kristen. She did not convey the strength expected for such a role and it was due to her acting ability. I found her doing the same character as Bella in Twilight. A better actress would have made this movie more exciting; I found myself getting bored in parts. It was especially noticeable since the evil Queen Ravenna was so wickedly played by Charlize Theron (Monster, Young Adult). It looked like Charlize relished her role as she was the dominant figure out of the cast. In addition, there was Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods) as the Huntsman who was sent by the Queen to hunt down Snow White in the Dark Forest. Chris did an admirable job with his character, being the tough yet sensitive man of the movie. The film was beautiful to watch, enhanced with great special effects. Though I liked the idea behind the story, I was underwhelmed by the execution of it. This movie needed someone like my aunt to make it better.
2 2/3 stars