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Flash Movie Review: Pawn Sacrifice

I called it a goal; my friends said it was an obsession. When I planned this movie review site I decided I wanted to do one movie review a day for the entire year. No matter what holiday, in sickness and in health, even on vacation; I planned to write a new film review each and every day for 365 days. And you know what, I did it. Trust me when I tell you it was not always easy. I remember leaving many social functions to race home and get a review posted. Even after working all day then teaching at night, my classes would even ask me what movie I was reviewing that evening and I would tell them only the title, for they would have to wait until I got home to write it. I never considered this an obsession, though I could see where some people would question my sanity. It was more like a challenge and I wanted to be able to say I posted movie reviews for an entire year. After reaching my goal I have to be honest I was relieved. It was getting to me especially on weekends; trying to figure out the logistics to post reviews, going to movies, meeting friends and family for a meal or activity was driving me to exhaustion. That is when I decided to take the weekends off from writing and if something came up during the week where I could not get a review posted to not beat myself up for it. So you see I do not think I have an obsession, though I know there could be a fine line between it and reality.    DURING the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union a battle was brewing over a chess match between American chess prodigy Bobby Fisher, played by Tobey Maguire (Labor Day, Seabiscuit), and world chess champion Boris Spassky, played by Liev Schreiber (A Perfect Man, Fading Gigolo). Based on a true story this biographical drama had a compelling story that revealed more than I remembered about the chess games. I thought the acting was spot on, including Peter Sarsgaard (Black Mass, Flightplan) as Father Bill Lombardy; however the script was somewhat flawed. Where I wanted to sympathize with Bobby’s plight, I felt the script made him out to simply be an arrogant, hard to get along with hole. The scenes were setup in such a way to provide a good dose of tension, but as the movie progressed I grew tired of Bobby’s rants. Maybe they did happen in real life, but I did not find enough background story to the characters. It just seemed as if we were seeing the same “craziness” over and over with little explanation. At the end of the film I came away wondering where Bobby placed on that fine line between an obsessive genius and insanity.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Mozart’s Sister

First born children are revered in some cultures, while the number of children is important in others. For some parents it matters if their child is male or female and then there are couples who do not want any children. I have been a witness to parents favoring one child over another, oblivious to their actions. Then there is the whole realm of sibling rivalry. Gratefully I never experienced it since I was much younger than my brothers. To this day I remember when my nephew talked about an acquaintance of his, who was a top fashion model with a twin sister. He said you would think the twin sister was beautiful until her model twin walked into the room and then you would pay no attention to the other. I wondered how she handled her sister’s fame and looks. I know this film had to take major liberties to make a “good” story for the viewer, but I still enjoyed it. Marie Feret (L’enfant du pays, Madame Solario) played Maria Anna “Naneri” Mozart, the older sister to Wolfgang, played by newcomer David Moreau. A gifted musician and composer in her own right, her father favored Wolfgang. She just wanted some recognition for her abilities. Traveling to the royal courts of Europe Leopold Mozart, played by Marc Marbe (Calm at Sea, La Vie en Rose), put his boy prodigy on display for everyone to marvel, with Naneri left to be her brother’s accompanist. I was intrigued by the story, imagining what life must have been like for both children. Spending days in a horse drawn coach, through all kinds of weather, just to be exhibited like a circus act; it had to be grueling on some level. There was also the issue of gender roles to consider based on what was shown in this movie. What would have happened if Naneri was born male; how would that have changed the dynamics? The film was flawed but entertaining nonetheless. I found the ending abrupt and unsatisfying. However, it was interesting to see what factors place us into our station in life. French with English subtitles.

 

2 1/2 stars — DVD

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