Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Fourth Kind (2009) PG13 - 2½ Stars

The First Kind is when a UFO is sighted. The Second Kind is when there is evidence collected to support the sighting. The Third Kind is when contact is made with an extraterrestrial and The Fourth Kind, well that's the scariest of all and until now, has never been documented. In 1972, this grading scale was started to categorize all UFO reports.

While the movie was a little freaky, it just didn't give me the chills like I expected it to. Since it was based on a true story from the 1960's, along with actual footage documented from Dr. Abigail Tyler, and I do believe we are not alone in this universe, I was hoping for something a little more realistic and believable. Instead, ever time there is an encounter on film, it's distorted to the point of being unrecognizable and therefore not real believable to me. However having said that, the real footage of Dr. Tyler shows a woman who totally looks like she's been abducted. I do like the switching back and forth from the actual footage to the modern day movie.

Psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich), swears she's witnessed someone killing her husband as he lie in bed next to her. Trying to get her life back together for her two kids sake, she continues working, seeing patients. She begins to notice a pattern of patients complaining of the same reoccurring dream. These patients awake unexpectedly and all report a large owl staring at them. As more strange behavior and disappearances start occurring here in her rural home town of Nome Alaska, she's dedicated to uncovering what it all means. Along with the help of a colleague Abel Campos (Elias Koteas), Dr. Tyler begins hypnotizing and video taping her clients, finding some very disturbing evidence of the Fourth Kind. When her daughter vanishes from her home, Sheriff August (Will Patton), begins to think Dr. Tyler is responsible for all the strange disturbances.

Universal Pictures
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Writer: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Producers: Joe Carnahan, Terry Lee Robbins, Paul Brooks
I viewed 3/10

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire (2008) R - 4 Stars

Wow! Such a sad movie of abuse, mentally, physically and sexually, and you know there are many women out there living this same type of life Precious is. It will make you sit up and take notice of just how good your have it compared to what some have endured. Mo'Nique, you go girl, I swear she deserves the oscar for sure. She plays the worst mother you can imagine. Actually, everyone is great especially new comer Gabourney Sidibe and even a surpirse appearance by Lenny Kravitz as a nurse. Thank God for teachers like Ms. Rain who with love and support, are able to get through to these troubled and abused teens. Could be a good a great humanities movie if there wasn't so much cussing.

Clareece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), leads a lonely life co-habitating with her mother. Though she, waits on her mother Mary (Mo'Nique) hand and foot, nothing Precious ever does is good enough for her. As a matter of fact, in the eyes of her mother, the only thing Precious is good at is taking care of mom by bringing home the welfare check so Mary can sit on her ass all day barking commands. Her mom has told her so many times how useless she is and how she will never amount to anything, that Precious is beginning to believe it. But when a teacher notices her capability, she encourages Precious to attend a special school to get more one on one training. It's there she meets school teacher Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), who changes her life. Guest appearance by (Lenny Kravitz) as Nurse John.

Nominated for 6 Oscar's - Awards Include:

2010 - Academy Award - Best Supporting Actress

2009 - Detroit Film Critics Society - Best Breakthrough Performance
2009 - New York Film Critics Circle - Best Supporting Actress
2009 - Sundance Film Festival - Audience Award
2009 - Sundance Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize

Lionsgate Films
Director: Lee Daniels
Writers: Damien Paul, Geoffrey Fletcher, Lee Daniels
Producers: Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness, Lee Daniels
I viewed 3/10

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Killshot (2009) R - 3½ Stars

I thought this movie had the potential to be so much better as it has a great cast with good acting but somehow the story gets boring, dragging on. It has decent suspense and action and Rourke's character, though not terribly exciting, seems capable of murder. It just looks a lot better in the previews.

Carmen Colson (Diane Lane), is a real estate agent and her husband Wayne (Thomas Jane), is at her office. But their break is interrupted when two mafia hit men, Armand "Blackbird" Degas (Mickey Rourke), and his psychotic partner Richie (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), walk into the store killing a man and wounding her husband. Carmen is able to shut the door on the mobsters and gets a clear look at Degas's face. When she is asked to testify against him, the Witness Protection Program relocates the couple to a safer location. But these men are professionals and will find a way to track Carmen down before she can point her finger. Also co-starring (Rosario Dawson), as Donna.

MGM Distribution Company, The Weinstein Company
Director: John Madden
Writer: Hossein Amini
Producers: John Madden, Richard N. Gladstein, Lawrence Bender
I viewed 12/09

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pure (2002) NR - 3 Stars

The best part of this movie was the little boy Paul played by Harry Eden. I don't think he could have been any better at portraying what it must be like to be the son of a junkie and struggling to hold your family together. I wished however, that it might have been sub titled as it was hard to at times to make out the dialog with their heavy British accent. It's a sad look at drug addiction and the families that go through witness it first hand.

Paul is a young boy who's been through too much emotional drama fir his age. Still grieving hi father's death, he watches his mother Mel (Molly Parker), drift farther and farther into her loneliness while neglecting he and his younger brother. Paul has grown up quickly, becoming the man of the house at 10. Paul still believes in his mother and even takes a punch in the face when other's call her a junkie. Lenny (David Wenham), the town's local drug dealer, delivers his mother her medicine. But, when Paul finds out this "medicine" he's been preparing for mum is really Heroin, his anger takes him to the streets to find out how it feels. He turns to his friend from the coffee shop Louise (Keira Knightley), a pregnant waitress on crack, and asks her to buy some. When he produces the money, she shows him how to do it. When Mel sees the damage she has inflicted onto her son, she vows to clean up and become a family once again. But that's easier said than done.

Indican Pictures, Kudos Film & Television, Little Wing Films
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Writer: Alison Hume
Producer: Howard Burch
I viewed 3/10

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Other Man (2008) R - 2 Stars

What I didn't understand about this movie is why does the husband get so insanely jealous and totally obsessed now learning of an affair that happened with his dead wife. The movie starts out with his wife leaving the house and you wonder if she has gone to be with another man. But no, she's been dead the whole time. Worse off , the husband flies to Milan, tracks the cheater down, plays chess with him, meets his family and they even become somewhat of friends. WTF? He should have at least smacked the guy in the eye. Liam is great, Banderas is cheesy, the cinematography is beautiful but mainly, the direction is horrible.

Peter (Liam Neeson), is obsessed with the fact his dead wife Lisa (Laura Linney), had an affair. I guess out of curiosity, or sheer boredom, Peter travels to Milan to meet his match Rafe (Antonio Banderas), perhaps to find out why she desired him.

Image Entertainment
Director: Richard Eyre
Writers: Charles Wood, Richard Eyre
Producers: Frank Doelger, Mary Beth O'Connor, David Richenthal
I viewed 1/10

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Talking to Heaven (2002) PG13 - 3½ Stars

I don't really have a category for a religious type of movie like this so I added it to Sci-Fi as it really depends in what you believe in. I am a spiritual person but I'm against organized religion and do not support any religion's bible, but then again, that's a whole other topic. Even though this story has been done before, a man being able to see and hear from the dead where other's can't, this one has a pretty good all star cast with some great acting that kept me involved all the way till the end. It's also a good murder mystery of "who done it" with a surprising ending. Made for a two part television mini-series drama.

James Van Praagh (Ted Danson), is an ordinary man with what he feels a curse that allows him to see and feel things from the dead. Since he was 6, he has found he's seen and talked to people that others have not seen. Frowned upon by the other children as an outcast and close to his religious mother Regina (Diane Ladd), James tried to ignore and forget any psychic abilities he once had. With his company failing and his mind preoccupied with signs from the dead surrounding him, James hires Midge (Queen Latifah), to design a web site to build sales. He's gotten a good worker, but also a new good friend he can talk about these images that are haunting him.

After his mother's death, he begins to again see more of these dead people who can't get settled without resolving certain issues. And when young boys with their hands bound, start appearing, James works with Detective Karen Condrin (Mary Steenburgen), using his visions to help stop a serial killer.

Timeless Media Group, RHI Entertainment
Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Writer: John Pielmeier
Producers: James Van Praagh, Preston Fischer, John Pielmeier
I viewed 3/10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Delirious (1991) PG - 2½ Stars

I rented this movie as John Candy has always been one of my favorites to rely on for a good laugh. But unfortunately, this one just doesn't have the laughs for me like some of his other great hits.

Jack Gable (John Candy), writes a soap opera called Beyond Our Dreams. The programs producers, Lou (Jerry Orbach), and Arlene Sherwood (Renée Taylor), what him to kill off one of Jack's most beloved characters, Rachel Hedison played by Laura (Emma Samms). And as Laura has just broke up with Dennis (David Rasche), one of her co-stars, Jacks has the perfect opportunity to escape for the weekend with her. But when he gets hit on the head in an accident he's knocked out and awakens smack in the middle of a soap opera world. When he meets Janet (Mariel Hemingway), he finds her similarities to his character Laura. Janet plays the daughter of a great late biochemist who invented a pill that allows you to eat what you want without the fear of weight gain. However, Carter (Raymond Burr), Ty (Charles Rocket) and Blake Hedison (Dylan Baker), are trying to steal the formula and make the fortune first. When Jack discovers he can use his typewriter to change the outcome of the next scene, he rewrites the plot making sure this star, Janet's character is saved.

MGM Distribution Company
Director: Tom Mankiewicz
Writers: Fred Freeman, Lawrence J. Cohen
Producers: Larry Cohen, Annie Stevens, Richard Donner
I viewed 11/09

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) R - 3½ Stars

Just looking at the DVD cover you know it's going to be a dark movie. I bought this movie in a 4-$20.00 special at Block Buster. But without reading the box, I thought it was about vampires and just knew it had to be good with Tim Burton at the helm. Well, like a vampire movie, there IS blood and killing and violence but in an awkward way, there's beauty too. Johnny Depp singing in a musical, wow, he's pretty darn good in his role as the master barber. With his partner in crime Helena Bonham Carter, doing a smashing job. I really liked the performance of little Edward Sanders. It's a fun sort of "Little Shop of Horror" type movie, just made me close my eyes through a lot of it.

Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), has been away from town for 15 years and not by his choice. You see, 15 years ago Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), was jealous of Sweeney's wife and wanted her desperately. Along with the aid of Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall), the judge arranged the lock up of Sweeney, sending him far away for a long time. Judge Turpin took Sweeney's wife away and locked his daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener), out of reach of anyone but himself. But revenge will be sweet as Sweeney moves back into town to make the judge pay. Mrs. Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), offers Sweeney the room above her meat pie shop and Sweeney goes to work giving the closest shaves in town. The two help each other become sucessful and befriended by a street boy Toby (Edward Sanders), the family setting seems almost complete. Business if bombing in the eatery, but the beggar woman on the street (Laura Michelle Kelly), keeps an open eye on the customers that go into Sweeney's shop for a shave and never come out.

Awards Include:

2007 - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Costume Design
2007 - Hollywood Foreign Press Association - Best Picture - Musical or Comedy
2007 - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Young Actor
2007 - St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association - Best Score
2007 - Washington D.C. Film Critics Association - Best Art Direction

DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: John Logan
Producers: Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, Richard D. Zanuck
I viewed 3/10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inside Man (2006) R - 3½ Stars

This is not your typical bank robbery, with Clive Owne playing a mastermind thief, in this good suspenseful thriller. Foster plays an high paid determined executive that throws an edge where you're not sure if she's actually one of the good or bad guys. Denzal has some great one liners but Denzal is Denzal adding his usual cockiness to his character. With lots of suspense and not a give away ending, you think you've just witnessed the "perfect" bank robbery.

Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), it somewhat of a perfectionist. He's been planning the perfect bank robbery for awhile. Why? Because he's entirely sure he can get away with it. With his arrogant, yet calm manner, he takes over a Wall Street Branch of the Manhattan Trust Financial Institution in broad daylight. Along with his three coverts dressed as painters, they enter the bank taking everyone inside hostage.

Along with Emergency Services Unit (ESU) Captain John Darius, NYPD hostage negotiators, Detective Keith Frazier's (Denzal Washington), and Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor), arrive on the scene to negotiate the safe release of the 50 plus hostages. But their job will not be easy as Russell seemingly is calling all the shots as he's covered all bases and cleverly outwits the police, staying one step ahead. The bank president Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer), fears the police his precious banking career at risk and hires high roller Madeline White (Jodie Foster), who requested a private meeting with Russell. It seems she has compelling negotiation of her own.

Awards Include:
2006 - American Film Institute - Best Picture

Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP)
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Russell Gewirtz
Producer: Brian Grazer
I viewed 1/10

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) R - 3½ Stars

The story's been done before starring Walter Matthau, but this time Denzal and Travolta take to the screen in this thriller inspired by John Godey's best seller. I think Travolta loves to play these types of roles as the educated bad guy that's done his homework and he does a good job as Ryder. The movie has good realism of the possibility of a hijack situation like this taking place and even though it's somewhat slow getting started, it soon becomes a roller coaster of suspense. Denzal was good but his character becomes too rehearsed to me for his only being a "civil service employee". Over all, a decent rental with plenty of action, drama and suspense.

Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), has been dispatching lines the New York subway station for 17 years. He knows these tunnels inside and out. His daily routine is about to take a collision course with thief Ryder (John Travolta), who along with three other thugs, have hijacked a subway train holding it's passengers hostage. Their demand is 10 million dollars within the hour or everyone on board will die.

Escape Artists, Scott Free Productions, Sony Pictures Releasing, Columbia Pictures, Metro Golden Mayer
Director: Tony Scott
Writers: Brian Helgeland, David Koepp
Producers: Todd Black, Tony Scott, Steve Tisch
I viewed 11/09

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brother's Keeper (1992) NR - 4 Stars

OMG I loved this documentary about the Ward brothers of Munnsville, N.Y.. I have to put this in my bizarre category as it's one of the most bizarre murder trials in U.S. history. The conditions these 4 dairy farmers have been living in for almost 60 years, are pretty much unbearable for most people to imagine. But after viewing the movie, I have mixed feelings about whether he did or did not kill his brother. The way younger brother Lyman freaked out while saying "I won't be here very long if I don't," when the prosecutor asked he he wanted to change his testimony from pointing the finger at Delbert. It appeared that Lyman was too scared of his older brother to stick to what he told the cops that morning of June 6th, that Delbert had smothered Will in his sleep. Then again, Delbert looks like he couldn't harm an ant if he had to and you want to feel he was incapable of such an act. Either way, I'd say there's a lot more to the story that these three surviving brothers will take to their graves. A REALLY entertaining watch.

In the small town of Munnsville with a population of 499 people, an aging dairy farmer will be accused of murdering his older brother. It's the morning of June 6, 1990, when Delbert awakes, he finds his brother Will, not breathing. As the EMC's arrive on scene, prepare and take the body away, it appears Will has died of natural causes. But by the morning of June 7th (coincidentally my birthday), Delbert will be accused of murder in the 2nd degree.

Living on a 99 acre dairy farm, in isolation, without heat or running water, these elderly brothers with limited IQ's, had virtually no contact with anyone outside their farm unless going to town. Most of the other farmers in the village of Munnsville, New York looked down on these brothers mainly because of the odor that hung over the brothers due to their living conditions, usually not changing their clothes or bathing for up to 6 weeks at a time.

At the police station, Delbert Ward would confess to smothering his brother in an act of mercy, just so he could leave and go back home to the security of his brothers. Instead, he was put in jail with bail set at $10,000. When the other farmers of Munnsville found out that Delbert had been arrested, the entire village rallied together to raise money for his bail as they were convinced that Delbert had been framed by the big city lawyers looking down on their type of folk.

Awards include:
1992 - National Board of Review - Best Documentary
1992 - New York Film Critics Circle - Best Documentary
1991 - Sundance Film Festival - Audience Award

American Playhouse, IFC Films
Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Writers: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Producers: Bruce Sinofsky, Joe Berlinger
I viewed 3/10

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Then She Found Me (2008) R - 3 Stars

Helen Hunt stars in and also directs this somewhat romantic comedy about what we think we want in life. Hunt's such a great actress that I didn't loose connection with her character and her directing but I did find her looking really tired and old. I find a lot of times you can't do both well and I don't know if her look was specific or she was just worn out. For me, the movie drags on in places with no funny lines. I also didn't buy Broderick's character as a doctor with balls to walk out on her and I also started to get tired of hearing Hunt's constant almost whiny voice. Maybe that part forced me do a reality check of my own life in hopes I don't sound like that. But even though this is a perfect role for Bette, I just didn't find it very funny.

April Epner (Helen Hunt), is a teacher from Philadelphia on the verge of mid life crisis. Surrounded by children daily, she feels her biological clock ticking and desperately wants to have a baby. Her obsession to be pregnant and failed attempts with her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick), are starting to take control of her life. April's adopted mother Trudy (Lynn Cohen), tries to convince April that adoption is the same as having a baby but deep inside, April feels a birth child is what she needs to feel complete. But as Trudy passes away, and Ben walks out on Trudy's obsession, April finds herself alone.

Meanwhile at school, April meets Frank Hartes (Colin Firth), the father of one of her students. He finds himself attracted to April and even though Ben hasn't been out of the picture very long, Frank convinces April to spend time together eventually over taking her heart. But Ben shows up to engage in make up sex finally leaving April pregnant. Now April has to contend with the new man she's falling for, the pregnancy by her ex and a meddling new mom.

Awards Include:
2008 - Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Leap from Actress to Director

Hunt/Tavel Productions, Killer Films, ThinkFilm
Director: Helen Hunt
Writers: Helen Hunt, Alice Arlen, Victor Levin
Producers: Helen Hunt, Katie Roumel, Christine Vachon
I viewed 12/09

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alice in Wonderland 3D (2010) - 4 Stars

Wow, when I was reading some of the critics reviews, they were pretty hard on poor Alice saying it's been done before. I have to admit, I've never seen any Alice in Wonderland movies even as a little girl. Maybe my parents kept me away from Alice with her strange friends like the tripy blue hash smoking caterpillar. I did know the story and I think Tim Burton did a great job bringing it to 3D life. I absolutely adored the Red Queen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Johny Depp made a great Mad Hatter. Mia Wasikowska made a lovely very believable Alice and I enjoyed the movie very much, especially in 3D.

A 19 year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska), chases TMC Twist the White Rabbit (voice Michael Sheen), through the woods until she falls into a large hole. Ending up in Underland , she knew as Wonderland as a little girl shes visited before. This time as she's being chased by the ferocious Bandersnatch, she can't pinch herself to wake up like she did as a child. Along the way she meets her old friends Tweedledee and Tweedledum (voice Matt Lucas), Mallymkun the Dormouse (voice Barbara Windsor), the blue Caterpillar Absolem (voice Alan Rickman), Chessur the Cheshire Cat (voice Stephen Fry), and of course, has tea with the March Hare (voice Paul Whitehouse), and the Mad Hatter, (Johnny Depp). But this Wonderland is control ed by the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), and her ruthless army run by Ilosovic Stayne, The Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover). Before Alice can leave, she must defeat the Red Queen giving power back to the beautiful White Queen (Anne Hathaway).

Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Producers: Jennifer Todd, Joe Roth, Richard D. Zanuck
I viewed 3/10

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2012 (2009) PG13 - 3½ Stars

While 2012, was a fun epic disaster movie, I was little disappointed in it's visual effects. I liked the volcano eruptions at Yellow Stone but the ground giving way while a limo hangs to the road as it unfold behind it, that part was a little far fetched to me. Though I have to admit it has good action and makes you hang on the edge of your seat a few times. But I'm wondering was this is the only family from that city that was able to get out in time? A perfect role for Woody Harrelson as I love him playing dim witted yet intelligent roles.

Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), is now a single dad competing with his ex wife's Kate's (Amanda Peet), new husband in the eyes of his children. Only seeing his children Noah (Liam James), and Lillie (Morgan Lily), on occasional weekends, has caused bitterness with his young son who simply adores his new step father Gordon (Tom McCarthy). On Jackson's weekend trip with his kids to Yellowstone, they stumble across a strange man Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), who's broadcasting through his RV radio that the world is coming to an end. Even when Jackson finds the ideal spot he and Kate used to camp in, the small lake is dry and no one seems to be having a good time. The kids want to go home and see Gordon and their mom so the camping trip is cut short.

But as Jackson drops the children back home, he starts thinking about what Charlie Frost was broadcasting over his radio and as the ground starts to shift around him, he heads back to Kate's house to retrieve everyone and get them to safety. The household unloads into Jackson's limo and they all race away barely avoiding the street that is breaking in two behind them. But where do they go from here? Charlie had mentioned he had a map to a secret place that large Arks were being built in order to survive the massive floods and turmoil the entire earth is about to go through. Now, they're only question is can they make it in time.

Centropolis Entertainment, Mark Gordon Company, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Producers: Larry Franco, Mark Gordon, Harald Kloser
I viewed 3/10

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Informant! (2009) R - 3 Stars

Based on the true story of Mark Whitacre, the highest-ranking corporate whistle blower in U.S. history, who worked for agri-industry giants, ADM. While it eventually became an interesting movie to me, the beginning seemed to feel like it takes place in the 70's. The style of font used on title pages, the musical accompaniment, even the style of the FBI agents with their primitive looking wire taping, all led to the impression of a different time period than it actually was. That constantly threw me off relating it to the 1990's. I also wonder if this is an accurate depiction of the mind of Mark Whitacre, as Matt Damon does a good job playing the role of this preoccupied compulsive liar.

Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), is a rising star of the agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). When he becomes aware of price fixing at his company, he imagines himself becoming a hero in the eyes of his fellow men, and getting a hefty promotion with the company, for exposing these grredy owners with their price fixing. As a matter of fact he's so set on bringing these men down while taking himself to the top, his brain works overtime. Constantly inventing new stories, he manages to throw everyone off their track, while thinking he's coming out smelling like a rose. FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula), and Bob Herndon (Joel McHale), are eager to make their case work and stick it out with Whitacre to obtain information. Whitacre offers to wear a wire and keep tape recorders in his briefcase, showing his cooperation with the FBI. But the FBI soon becomes leery of Whitacre's ever constant changes and start to do a little investigating of their own. Whitacre's greed for recognition, causes the hire ups at ADM to uncover enough damaging evidence on Whitacre, to send him to prison.

Jaffe/Braunstein Films, Groundswell Productions, Participant Media, Section Eight, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Producers: Greg Jacobs, Kurt Eichenwald, Michael Jaffe
I viewed 3/10

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) PG13 - 3½ Stars

At first this movie was a little confusing to me with the traveling husband, now you see him now you don't, but the more the movie evolves, the better it gets. Rachel McAdams plays the type of wife you want to find your way back to. Her girl next door image with her soft spoken smile gives Bana the reason to try and stay with her as much as he can. A good romantic journey though the beginning seems a little strange as a little girl gives her blanket to a naked adult man, hiding in the bushes. I would hope most little girls would run immediately home to tell their parents.

When Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdms), was just a little girl, she used to go out to the fields to play by herself. It is here that she first encounters Henry (Eric Bana), a man who appears out of no where, naked in the woods. At first she is shocked by his presence but is convinced to give her blanket to him so he can talk to her and explain he is from another era, traveling through time. Henry returns to the field many times while Clare is growing up, eventually forming a strong bond between them.

As Clare grows up, she waits for the moments that Henry will appear as she has been in love with him since the day she first laid eyes on him. Henry has a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to time travel through different periods of his life. But he is determined to stay as long as he can and Clare desperately tries to build a life with the man she's loved her entire life.

New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Bruce Joel Rubin, Jeremy Leven
Producers: Brad Pitt, Nick Wechsler, Dede Gardner
I viewed 3/10

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Public Enemies (2009) R - 3½ Stars

Based on the book by Bryan Burrough's - Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI from 1933-34. The movie has some great action and portrays the glamorous side of the mob. From their arrogant thinking they can have what they want, their confidence that nothing can touch them, and their chic style of dress as they hold up banks in broad daylight. The acting is great and you believe you have lost yourself in another era. It was nice to see Depp in this serious role after all the comedies he's done lately. I think he makes a good Dillinger and the casting was great all around with good action and entertainment.

In the height of his career, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), was unstoppable. Even if he was caught, there wasn't a jail around that could hold him for very long. J. Edgar Hoover's (Billy Crudup) FBI was just starting to form mainly because of gangsters like Dillinger. It was a perfect opportunity to practice their techniques because if they could stop Dillinger, it enforced their credibility. The cops felt helpless in stopping Dillinger or members of his gang like Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), and Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi). Always charming, he was noted as America's first Public Enemy Number One. People looked up to Dillinger, almost pegging him as a hero, as he robbed the banks that many felt responsible for causing the Great Depression.

FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), is dead set on bringing Dillinger to gas chamber. But constantly being outsmarted by Dillinger, he enlists the help of many Western ex-lawmen making them deputies so he can cover all angles and even uses acts of betrayal with Dillinger's girlfriend Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), to close in.

Universal Pictures
Director: Michael Mann
Writers: Michael Mann, Ann Biderman, Mark St. Germain
Producers: Kevin Misher, Michael Mann, Jane Rosenthal
I viewed 12/09

Friday, March 12, 2010

House of 9 (2005) R - 2 Stas

At first, I was going to say what is Dennis Hopper doing in this film? After thinking about it for a moment, of course he's in this bizarre mystery film. This is a movie where you suffer with bad acting and a ridiculous story line, up until the very end of the movie which is the best part, also you cheer because it's over. Maybe the main problem is, these nine people, randomly kidnapped and thrown in a locked mansion together , have nothing to do with each other making it impossible for you to give two cents about any of them. Other than the dancer, the others are all people you yourself would hate to be locked up with. Maybe that's the point. Perhaps it was trying to be a game like "Saw," or "The Cube," but it never shows you anything about the owner of the game and seems so pointless. I did liked the DVD cover, which enticed me to watch the flick but the ending leads one to believe there could be a sequel, ugh, as I hope they avoid this.

Nine Strangers, a priest Father Duffy (Dennis Hopper), the dance Lea (Kelly Brook), the cop Jay (Raffaello Degruttola), husband Francis (Hippolyte Girardot) and wife Cynthia (Julienne Davis), drug addict Shona (Morven Christie), pro tennis player Claire Leevy (Susie Amy), and Max Roy (Peter Capaldi), are kidnapped and all awaken in a small mansion type setting with bricked in windows and steal locked doors. An announcers voice comes over a PA system explaining the nine are in a game of survival where there can be only one winner. The doors will not open until there is one survivor, who can walk through the door with their prize of 5 million dollars.

Bauer Martinez Studios, Deffender Film Fund Production
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Writer: Philippe Vidal
Producers: Philippe Martinez, Alan Latham, Karen Hamilton (II)
I viewed 2/10

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Couples Retreat (2009) - 3 Stars

I dunno, but lately these comedies just aren't doing it for me. While there are some funny parts, I never made a connection with any of characters where I wanted to root for them or see them succeed. Four couples embark upon a journey to paradise in order to have fun in the sun, relax, party and oh yeah, rekindle their relationships with their lovers. Cheesy, but happy ending, the yoga session was the funniest to me.

When a couple having marital problems, makes a power point presentation to their friends enticing them with a group vacation in paradise to help save their marriages, it's hard for the others to say no. Jason (Jason Bateman). Joey (Joey ), Cynthia (Kristen Bell), Trudy (Kali Hawk), Dave (Vince Vaughn), Shane (Faizon Love), Ronnie (Malin Akerman) and Lucy (Kristin Davis), set out for the trip of a life time to a far away secluded island, Eden, entering "Paradise West" filled with anything their hearts desire in relaxation and entertainment.

Marcel (Jean Reno), runs a tight ship on his island to create an environment that bring couples closer together. Along with early morning counseling and yoga meets with instructor Salvadore (Carlos Ponce), their main goal is to keep the couples engaged through therapy and retreat. But when Trudy goes missing, the group cuts across the bay to the singles island "Paradise East," guaranteed to change all of their relationships for good.

Universal Pictures
Director: Peter Billingsley
Writers: Dana Fox, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau
Producers: Vince Vaughn, Scott Stuber
I viewed 2/10

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inside Out (2005) - 3 Stars

The story line behind this movie was good about a wise Doctor playing mind games with the new neighbors by giving them just enough rope to hang themselves. But it just wasn't as powerful as it could have been. I almost became annoyed with Norman more than the doctor.

Norman (Steven Weber) is an airline pilot who lives with his wife in a nice quiet culdesac. The house next door has just been purchased and the new owners move in the middle of the night causing suspicion. The more Norman tries to be friends with the new neighbor, Dr. People's (Eriq La Salle), the stranger their relationship becomes. When Dr. Peoples starts firing up his lawn mower in the middle of the night to do his lawns, he just plain starts obsessively creeping Norman out especially when Norman thinks he sees, Dr. Peoples putting a body into his car in the middle of the night. Norman suspects it might be Dr. People's wife and brings in some of the other neighbors to form a vigilant watch against the doctor. Norman, and his pretend band of detectives, put People's home under surveillance, trying to get to the bottom of this; even breaking in when he leaves the house. But instead Dr. People's, specializing in psychology, is playing a mind game of his own making it look like the neighbors are the guilty ones.

Shoreline Entertainment, Inside Out Cinema, Humble Journey Films
Director: David Ogden
Writer: David Ogden
Producer: Timothy Linh Bui
I viewed 11/09

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Serious Man (2009) R - 2½ Stars

Man, some movies are so hard to write a review for and this is one of them. After seeing the entire movie, I'm wondering if they really needed the beginning scene or not? I think the point of it was to show why the family is cursed but seriously, I stopped my DVD player and ejected the disc to make sure I was watching the right movie. I don't think it ended much better. Talk about dark humor, possibly understanding Hebrew might make more sense of it's Yiddish correlation with Torah's tale of Job. But, there were other parts I thought were funny, like the Rabbi telling the long story of the Goys teeth, the young son preparing for his Bar Mitzva, and the Asian student trying to bribe a higher grade. To me, it gets funnier after Sy's death but I don't think everyone will enjoy this movie. Trust me, its confusing at times but if you can stay with it, it's definitely original. Great sound track of Jefferson Airplane and even Jimi Hendrix but it seems so out of place with the rest of the movie.

It's 1967 and Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), his wife Judith (Sari Lennick), daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus), son Danny (Aaron Wolff), and Uncle Arthur (Richard Kind), all starting their typical morning. Sarah's complaining Uncle Arthur is the the bathroom too long draining his cyst so she can't wash her hair to get ready to attend the "Hole," Danny is complaining to dad about F-Troop not coming in clearly, and the neighbor is mowing his lawn over the boundary of Larry's property.

Larry is a professor teaching the science of mathematics awaiting the news of his tenure. But Larry's "normal life" is all about to change. It starts with a student Clive Park (David Kang), who's failing his class, trying to convince Larry to allow him to take another mid term exam. Larry turns him down but notices a mysterious package of money on his desk when Clive leaves. Perplexed on how to handle the situation more strange events begin to occur for Larry. Once home and grading papers, Judith casually brings up the subject of divorce. And of all people, she's been seeing one of their close old friends of 15 years, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). Unsure of how to handle such a request, Larry turns to his Rabbi for the answers.

Nominated for 2 Oscars, Awards include:

2009 - Boston Society of Film Critics - Best Screenplay
2009 - Independent Spirit Awards - Robert Altman Award
2009 - National Board of Review - Best Original Screenplay
2009 - National Society of Film Critics - Best Screenplay

Focus Features
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
I viewed 2/10

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And the 2010 Academdy Award Winners Are...

I couldn't disagree more and view the movie's win at as a political statement by the academy in an almost justified approval of the war we shouldn't even be involved in. I've seen both movies and while Hurt Locker is an excellent movie, for me it doesn't compare to the complete visual entertainment and much bigger universal message in the outstanding movie Avatar. I thought the "best movies" were supposed to be the ones most entertaining for their audience. I'm wondering if the Academy even saw Avatar. I'm not trying to take the importance of what these soldiers that risk theirs lives encounter diffusing bombs. Hurt Locker is a very realistic tribute to their bravery. But all of my other major picks were correct, even Kathryn Bigelow for director and I just feel Hollywood didn't get Avatar's message and/or was not ready for people who look differently.










you can see all the winners here.