Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Six Degrees of Separation (1993) R - 4 Stars

This one gets my recommendation as one of those movies that messes with your mind. Starring Will Smith and Donald Sutherland, Smith is great playing a well educated, con man. The "six-degrees-of-separation paradigm" says that if you find the right string of friends, relatives, colleagues and lovers, you can move in six steps to connect them. Everyone in the world is touched somehow by this 6th person's connection therefore everyone out there somewhere/anywhere is connected to you in 6 steps.

Flan (Donald Sutherland) and Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing) are married, living in Manhattan and art dealers to the higher ups. They are throwing a party one night to sell some art when Paul (Will Smith) knocks on the door. He tells them he is a friend of their children whom he went to school with. Seems he's been mugged and he just needs a place for the night till he can get himself together in the morning.

Paul is extremely proper and elegant in appearance and he offers to help fix dinner for them for payment. He claims to be the son of Sidney Poitier and tells them about his life in the upper class white area of New York. They Kittredge's are mesmerized with this young man who cooks like a chef and tells them magnificent stories. He helps close an art deal that night. Everything is grand until they find Paul in bed with another man in their home and immediately ask him to leave. Once gone, they realize how much he has touched them.

When the couple gets together with some of their friends, they find out that Paul has been conning all of them with his fascinating stories. Paul has touched them all in a way they'll re-evaluate their lives.

MGM Distribution
Director: Fred Schepisi
Writer: John Guare
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Fred Schepisi

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Reef (2010) R - 3½ Stars

The suspense in this movie is pretty good. I could feel my blood pressure raise more than a few times. Based on a true story, the movie offers you a good thrill ride. Though I would have liked to have gotten more acquainted with the characters before they were thrown out to sea, you really begin to feel their fear yelling to yourself, "Swim, you fools swim!"

A brother and sister, plus their significant others, Luke (Damian Walshe-Howling), Kate (Zoe Naylor), Suzie (Adrienne Pickering), Matt (Gyton Grantley) and Warren (Kieran Darcy-Smith) head off to explore Australia's Great Barrier Reef. When the boat tears a hole in the bottom of its haul, it capsizes leaving it's five travelers in the water. Now,the group has to decide if  they stay with the boat hoping to be rescued or put themselves in shark infested waters,  to swim to a shore more than 12 miles away they can't even see?


Lightning Entertainment, Screen Australia, Image Entertainment
Director: Andrew Traucki
Writer: Andrew Traucki
Producers: Andrew Traucki, Michael Robertson
I viewed 7/12

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lakeview Terrace (2008) PG13 - 4 Stars

I like this movie a whole lot more than most other critics out there. For me, I think Samuel L. Jackson is perfect in his character. The macho cop, looking after his kids, but holds a grudge against everyone for the fact he's doing it alone. It's a good high charged movie throwing the proverbial wrench into the gear at every opportunity. The grass isn't always greener at the top of the hill.

Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), is a LAPD officer living with his two children in the upscale neighborhood in Lakeview Terrace. Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson) and his new wife Lisa (Kerry Washington), have just moved into their dream home, becoming new neighbors with Abel. Abel is not impressed with his new interracial neighbors. Instead shows contempt at any glace thrown his way.

The first night in their new home, the newlyweds are rudely awakened by powerful spot lights, illuminate their bedroom. Abel has a sophisticated light system, surrounding his home, to keep intruders out. But it also makes it impossible for Chris and Lisa to sleep as the light blares in their bedroom window.

Tensions escalate, from both sides of the fence, as Abel's children are exposed to a midnight love making session in the new neighbors pool. It's not long after that, Chris and Lisa start receiving threats from their new neighbor. But no one will be ready when the sparks ignite into flames too hot for any of them to put out.

Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing
Director: Neil LaBute
Writers: Howard Korder, David Loughery
Producers: James Lassiter, Will Smith
I viewed 2/09

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Air I Breathe (2007) R - 3 Stars

Great all star cast, I was hoping the movie would be over the top but instead falls into the mediocre. The movie splits itself into 4 separate stories, based on an ancient Chinese proverb of four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. But with all the great acting, the characters don't fall into place properly. While each name star gives a great performance, I didn't feel that powerful connection in the end to Sarah the way the director probably intended. On the same plane as movies like "Crash" and different lives intertwining, it does allow you to get close to the characters, feeling their pain and desperation but it just doesn't come all together properly, instead leaves you depressed and wondering what that point is suppose to be as the time line is so confusing.

When a nerdy businessman, "Happiness"(Forest Whitaker), is in the right place at the right time, he over hears three men talking about a horse that's a shoe in in tomorrows race. Taking his entire life savings, he attends the race putting his life on the line to find out there is no sure thing and now finds crime boss Fingers (Andy Garcia), about to dismember him if he doesn't come up with the money. This once quiet man, now desperate, robs a bank to come up with the cash.

A gangster, "Pleasure"(Brendan Fraser), who works for Fingers, is assigned the task of collecting money along with his nephew Tony, (Emile Hirsch). His assignment is to go after Trista "Sorrow", (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a famous pop singer, who has lost her contract to Fingers without her knowledge. Along the way he has a powerful premonition keeping him from doing his job.

A doctor "Love"(Kevin Bacon), will learn the true meaning of the word as he attempts to save the woman he loves Gina (Julie Delpy), who is dying from serious injuries. But her rare blood type will test his abilities in playing God with the one he loves. Each event seems to have an effect on the other characters to come to a head at the end.

ThinkFilm, Pathe International
Director: Lee Jieho
Writers: Bob DeRosa, Lee Jieho, Jieho Lee
Producers: Darlene Caamano Loquet, Paul Schiff, Emilio Diez Barroso
I viewed 4/09

Monday, March 3, 2014

Extract (2009) R - 3½ Stars

Now here's a refreshing, simple and sweet independent comedy. While it's not a movie to give you huge belted out laughs, it's a cute little story of a too nice of man that everyone seems to takes advantage of. If you like simple comedies, I would add this one to your list.

Joel (Jason Bateman), is the owner of Reynolds Extract company which manufactures items such as vanilla and root beer extracts. But lately his mind is not into his job and he spends too much time with his pot smoking bar tender friend Dean (Ben Affleck). When two workers Mary (Beth Grant), and Gabriella (Lidia Porto), see Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), bragging about his 'soon to become' floor manager position, Gabriella decides if he can goof off, so can she and walks away from her busy assembly line. Without pushing that important stop button, this soon causes a huge disruption to the production causing a painful injury to Step. Brian (J.K. Simmons), the plant manager brings in unethical Cindy (Mila Kunis), in an effort to help get production back on track. And it just might do the trick if Joel could stop imagining his wife Suzi (Kristen Wiig), in her chastity sweat pants, might be having an affair.



Miramax Films, Ternion Entertainment
Director: Mike Judge
Writer: Mike Judge
Producers: Dave Krinsky,Tom Lassally, John Altschuler, Michael Rotenberg
I viewed: 12/13

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stranded: I've come from a Plane That Crashed (2007) NR - 4 Stars

This is a very moving documentary about the 16 survivors of Uruguay's cricket team, who's plane crashed deep in the Andes October 13, 1972. After stranded 72 days, high atop the Andes mountain range of Chili, 2 exhausted survivors did the unthinkable by trekking over 8 large mountain ranges to get back to civilization. When all other hopes of rescue exhausted, these two brave young, men with little choice but to make it or die trying, crawl to freedom from their frozen tomb. Once they were found barely alive, their only thoughts were of getting help for their 14 friends still trapped in hell on the mountain. This documentary will make the hair stand up on your arms listening as the recapture their ordeal in the Andes.

I read the book, "Survived", when I was young and it has always stuck with me how these young men were forced with the decision to eat their fellow players in order to survive. Even learning that grinding done parts of the bone would give them a source of magnesium and calcium supplements their bodies needed to survive. These 16 survivors have uniquely special bond of a lifetime. Now, 30 years later in 2006, they reunite at the crash location and tell the stories to their families, and us the viewers, of permanent memories etched in their heads of the lose of their fallen friends.


Jose Algorta - Himself (as José Pedro Algorta)
Roberto Canessa - Himself
Alfredo Delgado - Himself
Daniel Fernandez - Himself (as Daniel Fernández)
Bobby Francois - Himself (as Roberto François)
Roy Harley - Himself
Jose Luis Inciarte - Himself (as José Luis Inciarte)
Alfredo Mangino - Himself (as Álvaro Mangino)
Javier Methol - Himself
Carlitos Paez - Himself (as Carlos Páez)
Nando Parrado - Himself (as Fernando Parrado)
Ramón Sabella - Himself
Adolfo Strauch - Himself
Eduardo Strauch - Himself
Antonio Vizintín - Himself
Gustavo Zerbino - Himself
José Gilberto Bravo Castro - Himself
Laura Canessa" - Herself (as Laura Inés Canessa)
Antonio Caruso - Himself
Juan Catalan - Himself (as Juan Catalán)
Sergio Catalan - Himself (as Sergio Catalán)
Jorge Massa - Himself
Juan Pedro Nicola - Himself
Mateo Nicola - Himself
Carlos Páez Vilaró - Himself (as Carlos Páez-Vilaró)
Madelón Rodríguez - Himself
Alejandra Strauch - Herself
Lucas Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Martín Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Sebastián Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Bernardo Antonaccio - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rafael Beltrán - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Mauro Bettega - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Mario Bianchi - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Hilario Canessa - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rodrigo Castellanos - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pablo Collazo - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Juan Antonio Damiani - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Alfonso Díaz Cat - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pablo Di Leva - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Nicolás Estrada - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Nicolás Furtado - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Joaquín Jaume - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Simón López Ortega - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Romeo López Ortega -Actor in reconstructed scenes (as Romero López Ortega)
Pablo Magariños - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Silvana Magrini - Actress in reconstructed scenes
Javier Martínez - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pedro Musto - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pilar Pelfort - Actress in reconstructed scenes
Carlos Scure Lacoste - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Ariel Tornin - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rafael Soliwoda - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Alejandro Zivov - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Ernesto Cantu - Narrator (noncredit)

Columbia Pictures
Directors:Gonzalo Arijon
Writers:Gonzalo Arijon, Deborah Ford
Producers:Sally Jo Fifer,Mariela Genta,Sergio Gándara,Virginia Martínez Vargas
I viewed 4/12