This is a
happy film with much to offer. John Travolta as Edna Turnblad
is wonderful and newcomers
Nikki Blonsky and
Elijah Kelley do
an amazing job.
Michelle Pfeiffer was miscast and a disappointment. The
plot revolves an attempt to integrate an American Bandstand-type
show in Baltimore in 1962. It's a trip down memory land with
fashion, cars and jargon.
Jhumpa Lahiri's novel and was not disappointed by the movie as is
often the case. The characters were very well portrayed and
the scenes of India made me ache to go. It is in some ways a
boy's coming-of-age novel but it's more than that. The mother
is especially compelling. It's directed by Mira Nair who also
did "Monsoon Wedding"
Historically accurate portrait of the 20 years it took to outlaw
slavery in the British Empire in the 18th Century and the man who
made it happen, William Wilberforce. A moving and powerful
portrayal. Bring kleenex.
"Shut Up and Sing"
A. I hate country music
B. I hate their
name. I can't stand, in this post-feminist era, the use of
"chicks," "bitch," etc.
C. When the little
dust up over the Chicks' comment about Bush started, I didn't give
it two thoughts.
D. However, I LOVED this
documentary. Rush down to Blockbuster today! I'm so glad they
kicked butt at the Grammys. I even bought the album.
I never can seem to work up the enthusiasm that everyone else can
for Almodovar but I did like (not love) this film. Penelope
Cruz does a great job and it has some interesting plot twists.
You can wait for DVD on this one.
"The Dead Girl"
loved this movie despite it's somewhat shaky start. It has a
wonderful repertory cast of women such as Toni Collette, Mary Beth
Hurt, Marsha Gay Harden and, one of my favorites, Brittany Murphy
(Daisy in Girl, Interrupted). It's directed by Karen
Moncrieff who was nominated for a 2007 Independent Spirit best
director award. It's going to be hard to find in the theaters
but it's worth the hunt. With a better budget it may have
garnered some Academy Award/Golden Globe nominations.
"Notes on a Scandal"
This was my
favorite movie of the year. Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett were
both fabulous, the dialogue was brilliant and the soundtrack was by
Phillip Glass. The dramatic tension had me holding my breath
for minutes at a time (or so it seemed). I loved it so much I
read the book by Zoe Heller which was a Booker finalist. Yum.
Sofia Coppola should be beheaded for ever making this piece of ----.
The jerky, hand held shots made me nauseous and the loud, modern
music was totally out of place. On the other hand, the
costumes were to die for and the shots of Versailles made me want to
go back. Kristen Dunst does a good job.
Edward Norton is one of my favorites and his latest is no exception
to the rule. The twists and turns in this plot are fascinating
and the special effects magic is beautiful. The cinematography
"All the King's Men"
This movie was a total bust according to the
critics but, although not perfect, I liked it very much. Sean
Penn was riveting.
Not the greatest movie ever made but it may be Ben Affleck's best
role. Brody does a good job. Save it for a rental.
This is a brilliant film with Scorsese at his finest (and, be
warned, his bloodiest). Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack
Nicholson all do great jobs. Look for Oscar buzz on this one,
especially for DiCaprio. My friend Pam, however, felt quite
I just saw The Departed and left
hoping Martin Scorsese never wins the Academy Award’s Best Director.
Perhaps he hasn't won so far because those voters don’t want to
reward his morbid fascination with mindless male brutality or his
worldview that doing good or evil doesn't matter, only style
(charisma) does -- who you are as a personality is more important
than the role you play in uplifting a group. The only reason
was a "good" movie is because we cared about the ACTORS carrying the
story -- the characters they portrayed are cartoon stereotypes. But
the intensity and integrity of the actors -- Martin Sheen, Jack
Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and an
exceptional supporting case -- was compellingly, as watchable as a
pit of cobras.All the principals were forced to give one-note
characterizations driven by the pigheaded dictate, “put your head
down and keep fighting.” The only humanizing emotion shown was
DiCaprio’s terrorized vulnerability over his own impending demise.
The movie was merely the long version of Reservoir Dogs
and just as stupidly, pointlessly brutal (at least Reservoir
Dogs’ ending was surprising and sardonically funny when it
came out). The Departed’s screaming
sound track, the graphic brain- and blood-splattering bullet shots,
and endlessly mounting pile of dead actors seemed designed to appeal
to the same male compulsion that has them turning over rocks so they
can squeal and shiver.As an audience member, I felt assaulted,
disgusted and depressed by yet another movie which exalts the least
intelligent or civilized but rather the darkest side of human
nature. This year I have been offered movies touted as admirable (on
a continuum from most to least gratuitously violent)
The Departed, The Last King of Scotland
and Blood Diamond, which had man’s brutality against
man as their central theme. What did we learn from watching
The Departed’s portrayal of our public safety officers --
defenders of The Public Good -- slaughter each other? That we
Americans can't trust men (even if they’re part of The Thin
Blue Line)? That men set up opportunities to kill each other
as a way of whistling in the graveyard? That this cycle is destined
to continue as long as women birth males? Maybe these are our
current cultural truths (after all, our President insists on
escalating the carnage in Iraq). But where is the voice for doing
good? Where is the faith that one person with an eye toward the good
of all can make a difference? Gibson’s movies certainly and most of
Scorese’s movies are designed so we admire captivating, yet brutal
central characters. These big, boy, blockbusters are cynical, at
best. At worst, they glorify and desensitize us to the horrors and
depravity of violence, terrorism, war, genocide and homicide.What I
want to see more of and see rewarded are cautionary and visionary
tales, spotlighting morally upright, yet compelling characters who
demonstrate that doing good (having the habit of law
abidingness) is worth striving for (Djimon Hounsou in
Blood Diamond and, to a lesser extent, Denzel
Washington in Déjà Vu). Personally I am fed up with
thug as protagonist. I want to see more American male
characters with moral fiber as well as backbone!
Although this had some funny lines, I was disturbed by the childhood
sexual exploitation aspects. Call me too sensitive!
The first half kept me
on the edge of my seat and the second had me peeking through my
fingers at the screen. This is not an easy watch nor for the
faint of heart because of subject matter (pedophilia), vigilantism
and graphic violence. But, oddly, I liked it.
I loved Victoria Redel's first novel (by the same name) in 2001.
It was dark and fascinating. Asking, "Has a mother ever loved
a child more" the protagonist goes on to chillingly try to control
her son's life. Kyra Sedgwick tried mightily and was directed
by husband, Kevin Bacon, but it just didn't make it as a movie.
||"Down to the
Another addict's story of
trying to get clean. Unique feature: after she's arrested,
she's offered drug court. First movie mention of DTCs that I
know of. If you're, you should excuse the expression, hooked
on this genre, it's a good one; if not, skip it.
This documentary is a fascinating view of a murder trial from the
original 911 call to verdict. Defendant and his defense team allowed
full access for 2 1/2 years and it shows a rare, behind-the-scene
look at defense strategy. The DA is now a judge and the judge is now
retired. DA's assistant ran for DA and lost. Defense counsel
represented one of the "Duke rapists." If you enjoy the law or
reality TV, you're going to love this.