Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Control Room (2003) NR - 3½ Stars

The Vietnam war gave the public a glimpse behind the scenes of the ugliness of war. With Kuwait and Iraq wars, society was media-managed as to what we were to see and not to see. There's only so much reliable information on the Internet, which is mostly biased, to form an objective opinion. Watching this film shows how easily American propaganda takes over in our media as opposed to how media allows the people of the middle east to complete reality.

I  watched this movie back in 2007 while the war in Iraq was still active on the ground. The images shown to us were exactly as our government and media wanted us to see. Direct hits on bad guys, front line pushing forward while sheltered from any reality of bombs hitting civilian targets. For me, watching documentaries that show all points of view allow me to form my own opinion of what I believe the truth to be.

We are invited into the headquarters of Al-Jazeera television to see how the news of the Iraq war is reported in the Arab nations. American television avoids the death and destruction where Al-Jazeera focuses on it and they make good arguments on it's benefits. For anyone who wants to see the Iraq war from all sides, search my site under war for the movies I've reviewed.

2004 - Control Room - Boston Society of Film Critics - Best Documentary.

Magnolia Pictures
Director: Jehane Noujaim
Producers: Rosadel Varela, Abdullah
I viewed 11/07

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Puncture (2011) R - 3½ Stars

As I began to watch this film I immediately formed a bad opinion of what I thought was to come. With lots of drugs, not great acting and a confusing mix of the characters, it looked like we were going no where at all and I lost interest. However, after watching for a while, I found myself more engaged and it became pretty interesting. Even the acting improved.

Based on a true story, there was no surprise to learn big players in the health industry are more interested in making money than treating the sick or prevention of disease. I had to list this is my political category because it really is all about the politics of major corporations, and in this case the health industry with the tightly knit circle that surrounds them.  Free trade is definitely kept out of this circle. At the end, I feel the writers intentionally leave you with a doubt as to what happened to attorney Weiss as if they seem convinced of foul play. You just might be convinced too.

Nurse Vicky Rogers (Vinessa Shaw), has an violent emergency patient which she must administer a shot to calm him down. But, in his restless stage, the needle punctures her skin and she becomes infected with AIDS. As she becomes sick, and her insurance is about to be canceled, she seeks the help of attorneys Mike Weiss (Chris Evans), and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen). She shows them a retractable new safety needle invented by engineer Jeffrey Matthew Dancort (Marshall Bell). Dancort own a company called Safety Point where he has patented and produced this new idea that could potentially save many lives. The problem is, he's unable to sell the product to the any other hospitals besides San Antonio Memorial. This one hospital, San Antonio Memorial, will try his product but it appears the United Medical group stands between Dancort trying to sell his product as they will not allow his product on the market. Mike and Paul soon learn fighting with these big boys, headed by attorney Nathaniel Price (Brett Cullen), and their ruthless techniques, immediately shoot down any attempt they can possibly try.

Cherry Sky Films, Kassen Brothers Production, LikeMinded Pictures, Millennium Entertainment
Directors: Adam Kassen, Mark Kassen
Writers: Chris Lopata, Ela Thier, Paul Danziger
Producers: Craig Cohen, Paul Danziger, Rod De Llano,
I viewed 8/12

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rear Window (1954) PG - 4½ Stars

I can't say enough about one of Hitchcock's best!!! An all time classic that if you have'nt seen it yet, make a point to. A true classic that never gets old. Stewart and Keyy are awesome and, for me, the innocence of the era adds to the excitement of the film.

L.B. Jeffries , (James Stewart) is confined to his apartment after breaking his leg. With not much to do he takes comfort, with his binoculars, watching his neighbors through his window into the courtyard. While watching their normal daily routines and lifestyles, he develops nicknames for his neighbors. But suddenly, he can't believe what he thinks he sees. Could one of his neighbors just have murdered his wife and now trying to dispose of her body in a suitcase?

On the brink of obsession, he can't take anymore and involves his model girlfriend, Lisa, (Grace Kelly). Voyeurism at it's finest.

Awards include:

1998 - Rear Window - American Film Institute - 100 Greatest American Movies.
1997 - Rear Window - Library of Congress - U.S. National Film Registry.
1954 - Rear Window - National Board of Review - Best Actress.
1954 - Rear Window - New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress.

Paramount Pictures
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: John Michael Hayes
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
I viewed 6/07

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sicko (2007) PG13 - 3½ Stars

You either like Michael Moore's work or you hate it. For me, any movie that stirs me up and makes me angry and causes a reaction in me is a good thing. Michael produces directs and stars in this documentary on the health care system here in America as well as other parts of the world. When you see how much the costs we pay for prescription drugs and medical treatments here in the United States versus other parts of the world, well something isn't right.

Though Michael gets a bit dramatic towards the end of the movie, it was very sad to learn that detainees in Guantanamo have better health care then most American citizens do. Yet we as a society don't do anything to protest it but just complain.

Awards include:

2007 - Sicko - Chicago Film Critics Association - Best Documentary.
2007 - Sicko - Las Vegas Film Critics Association - Best Documentary.
2007 - Sicko - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Documentary.

Lions Gate Films
Director: Michael Moore
Writer: Michael Moore
Producers: Meghan O'Hara, Michael Moore
I viewed 1/08

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dan in Real Life (2007) PG13 - 3½ Stars

What fun a large family reunion like this one would be. This movie, set in the great back woods of Rhode Island, is a wittey comedy that gives you that farm fuzzy feeling of finding love.

Dan Burns, (Steve Carell), is a single father and writes an advice column for the local newspaper. His column is directed toward parents and being one himself, he can relate to how hard it is to make intelligent choices. It's been four years since his wife died and he is struggling with the needs of his fast growing and outspoken daughters. Jane, (Alison Pill), Cara (Brittany Robertson), and Lilly (Marlene Lawson).  On a family reunion to Rhode Island, he meets the woman of his dreams Marie, (Juliette Binoche), only to find out his brother Mitch (Dane Cook), has brought her to the reunion as his guest - girlfriend, Situations clash and Dan finds out from his daughters what true love really is.

Buena Vista Pictures
Director: Peter Hedges
Writers: Peter Hedges, Pierce Gardner
Producers: Brad Epstein, Jonathan Shestack
I viewed 3/08

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Age of Adaline (2015) PG-13 3 1/2 Stars

Unless it's an animated Disney or Pixer movie, it's hard for me to get into a movie that wants me to believe the impossible. This movie does just that, expecting the viewer to accept the fact Adaline can never age beyond her 29th year. Parts of the movie are narrated by Hugh Ross which sometimes go on too long. However, this simple love story, with good acting and romantic cinematography, allows you to get past the impossibility and step on board the ride.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), was born 12:01 New Years Eve 1908. She lived a normal life, married and had a child named Flemming. At the age of 29, she lost her husband in a tragic accident and then was involved in a horrible car accident of her own. Because of the crash, and a weather phenomenal fluke allowing her body to never age past 29.

As Flemming ages (Ellen Burstyn), Adaline is forced to keep her age a secret by moving every decade, changing her identity and never allowing anyone to get close. While her youth has it's benefits of beauty it holds her back on living, never becoming close with friends or relationships. That is until she meets Ellis Jones, (Michiel Huisman), with his persistence and charm. As he takes her home to meet his family William Jones, (Harrison Ford), and Kathy Jones, (Kathy Baker) she'll be forced to make a bog decision.

Lakeshore Entertainment
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writers: James Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Producers: Steve Golin, David Kern, Andre Lamal, Sidney Kimmel
I viewed 6/16

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Das Boot - The Directors Cut (1981) R - 5 Stars

I've got to say this is one looooong ass movie but also one of the best submarine war epics I've ever seen and well worth the time spent watching. The acting is outstanding and it's great to hear the German dialect, with subtitles easy to read. You really get to experience what it's like being in the tight quarters of a submarine and your mission is war. Based on the true story of a World War II photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, from the images he captured during the grooling days waiting for war. "Sometimes you're the prey and sometimes you're the hunter." One of those movies you have to see at least once and go for the directors cut.

Some of the actors include:
Capt.-Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock - Der Alte - (Jürgen Prochnow)
Lt. Werner - Correspondent (Herbert Grönemeyer)
Chief Engineer Fritz Grade - Der Leitende-Der LI (Klaus Wennemann)
1st Lieutenant - Number One-1WO (Hubertus Bengsch)

Awards include:
1982 Bavarian Film Awards - Best Director - Wolfgang Petersen
1982 Bavarian Film Awards - Best Cinematography - Jost Vocano
1982 Munich Film Festival - Best Young Actor - Heinz Hoenig

Bavaria Film, Radiant Film GmbH, Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writers: Wolfgang Petersen, Dean Riesner
Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Günter Rohrbach, John W. Hyde
I viewed 4/14