People go to the movies for many different reasons. We go to be entertained, provoked, intrigued. Some people go to be shocked, challenged or even scared. This film is intense, well-acted and certainly thought-provoking. It is an awkward look into evil and forgiveness and the role of religion in both. It is not, however, why I go to the movies.
Story: Fresh out of prison, Percy Talbott arrives in the middle of winter in the town of Gilead, Wisconsin in the 1990s, a place she selected based on a photo she saved from a travel book. Sheriff Joe Sutter meets her and, though puzzled why anyone would want to settle in the depressed hamlet, arranges for her to work at the Spitfire Grill, the only restaurant in town.
If you decide to skip the cineplex, these are the top rental options:
Movies that revolve around food and cooking make me nervous. It’s almost as if the director thinks he can sacrifice a plot for a lingering shot of a bell pepper--or a magical moment of whisking an egg. And while food is an incredible thing to look at, assembling a salad does not a movie make. This film, I’m delighted to say, was more than a pleasant surprise. Yes, the food is mouth-watering, but the story is even better.
Woody Allen evokes a strong reaction from movie-goers—sometimes for the right reasons; sometimes, not. And I will admit, despite being a fan, his films can miss the mark. That usually occurs when he sacrifices story for agenda—or self indulgence. However, when he writes a compelling script and lets his love of filmmaking show, it’s captivating.
It’s always hard seeing films with posthumous performances. I don’t mean watching a Jimmy Stewart classic or a Marilyn Monroe comedy. I mean watching Heath Ledger’s Joker or James Gandolfini in Enough Said. Here, we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (who died in February) in one of his final roles. Sadly, even his brilliant, charismatic performance isn’t enough to help this film.
So, Frozen, Disney’s most recent animated offering, received an avalanche of critical acclaim. The film won two Academy Awards—Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song—and is being called the best animated feature film since…since what? What are the best animated movies of all time? Where are you failing in the parent (or grandparent) department, if you have deprived the little ones a viewing?
Story: At the Charenton asylum in France in 1807, the most notorious inmate is Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, an aristocrat better known as the Marquis de Sade. He was born in 1740 and spent 32 years in various prisons before dying in 1814 at Charenton, where he was sent in 1801.
Story: Blanche DuBois travels from her native Mississippi to the Elysian Fields area of New Orleans and the home of her married sister, Stella Kowalski. Stella is surprised at Blanche’s arrival but makes her feel at home. Quickly, though, Stella learns that Blanche has lost the beloved family estate, Belle Reve, and has packed all of her worldly possessions into her suitcases.
Story: Return with us now to 1959 for the senior year of the fun-loving kids at fictional Rydell High School (anyone else remember Bobby Rydell?). It seems that over the summer, Danny Zuko, leader of a group of school greasers known as the T-Birds, had a romance with a chick named Sandy Dumbrowski.
Zach Braff is an interesting filmmaker. It’s clear his subject matter always is intensely personal and this movie is no exception. He raised money to make this film—written with his brother—by using a Kickstarter campaign online and recruiting a few of his friends from his hit show, Scrubs. It certainly was worth the effort.
Let me begin by saying it has been a very pleasant weekend at the cineplex. This film is one reason: Here, we have a compilation of plot points, none of which are particularly original or extreme, but by the miracle of strong writing and exceptional acting, we get a movie that is refreshing and surprisingly original.
Story: An infant boy, shipwrecked in the early 20th century with his parents off the west coast of Africa, is left alone after the boy’s parents are killed by a leopard. A nurturing gorilla named Kala, whose own infant is carried off by the same leopard, finds the boy and takes care of him as her own child.
Let me start off by saying I think Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest directors working today. He has an almost magical ability to capture the heart of a story, to let the audience connect with the human element. That makes it all the more difficult to understand what went wrong here.
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love an 80-minute movie. When did everyone decide that for a film to be legitimate, it has to hover around the two-hour mark? It’s like everyone’s back in high school, trying to get the term paper to 10 pages. The brilliance of this story is only amplified by its brevity.
I will be brief: On the one hand, I can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek references to big box-office sequels. We can almost chuckle at how the film beats a dead horse with constant quips about formula plots and increased production budgets…almost. Honestly, I really could have appreciated all the wink-and-a-smile,‘breaking-the-fourth-wall’ references if filmmakers had put an iota of thought into the script. It’s all well and good to joke about how sequels are more expensive, less amusing repeats of the original, but to then go ahead an actually be just that is mind-boggling. It would seem the joke is on us.
Story: Poverty is a way of life in northeastern England, where the dirty and dangerous occupation of coal mining has been the main source of income to the locals for centuries. In 1984, though, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has sworn to shut down the government-operated coal industry, threatening to take away the livelihood of 300,000 miners.
There are very few actors working today I would rather watch on screen than Clive Owen. He is talented and handsome, and capable of demonstrating that rare combination of strength and vulnerability. He’s an Oscar-caliber actor just waiting for the right film. His costar here, Juliette Binoche, is a beautiful and charming actress--and yes, she already has an Oscar. Together, one would think there would be very little that could keep them from making a terrific film--unless that one thing is the script.
In the wake of a string of atrocious big-budget bombs for Tom Cruise--and a title that makes it sound like a '70s soap opera--I was fully prepared to hate this movie. I was hoping it would be so bad I could walk out, get a little payback for having to sit through Oblivion. However, I should have known that if any movie star can weather the storm, it’s Tom Cruise. After countless maybe-I’ll-rent-it releases, he finally picked a winner.
Story: Ten down-on-their-luck contestants vie for the ownership of a new ‘hardbody’ pick-up truck being given away at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. The trick is for a contestant to keep at least one hand on the vehicle at all times (apart from brief, infrequent breaks) until the other nine contestants drop out. It’s every man for himself, every woman for herself and everybody for the keys to a fresh start to their troubled lives.
I will be brief. People interested in seeing this movie want to know one of two things: 1) Is it tame enough for little kids? and 2) Is it interesting enough for adults? The answer to both is yes. Regarding the first point: This is Disney, after all. Regarding the second: This is Angelina Jolie.
Considering one of the plot points of this film is how critics—who have no talent or ability in their field of expertise—can devastate their subjects, I am a tad hesitant to proceed. Let me start by saying this: I have seen every film Jon Favreau has directed. He is an extremely talented director, and lets the movie speak without being heavy-handed or pretentious. Like his work in front of the camera, his direction is charming. When Favreau decided to make this movie, he came on board with a director, a screenwriter and a leading man. What he apparently did not have was an editor.
A film about a noble of mixed race in 18th-century England might evoke a lot of images, thoughts and questions. How would a child of a noble and a black commoner survive in such a rigidly structured society? What would her life be like? All interesting questions...sadly, this film does a remarkably unsatisfying job of answering them.
My brother and I used to spend the night at my grandmother’s house and watch the original Godzilla movies. I would bury my head in my pillow, begging for him to change the channel as he dangled the antique remote over my head with a sinister grin. That one sequel with the giant moth scarred me. So, you can imagine my surprise years later, when I realized I had had the dinner scared out of me by a puppet smashing cardboard models on a ping-pong table. Special effects have come a long way…as have film budgets.
In the spirit of Father’s Day, we take a look at five great father-and-son films. Some are uplifting, others are tragic, but all are well worth watching. We purposefully avoided more obvious choices like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather and Road to Perdition, in favor of lesser-known gems that you may have missed.