LN entertainment editor Debbie Baldwin ranks the must-see and must-miss films of the year.
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 occurs to me that in movies, turning to the sex trade to supplement one’s income always seems to be a far more plausible proposition than in real life. So I guess we are just going to have to operate on the assumption that prostitution is—how should I put this—a viable option for the average Joe. Apparently, it also is an option for the average Josephine.
To get you in the mood for this Sunday's 86th Annual Academy Awards, we have LN's longtime movie critic, Debbie Baldwin, comparing notes with Brandon LaMew, who's been ranked No. 15 among Netflix's top film reviewers worldwide.
So, with all the Oscar hopefuls out, as well as some pretty decent mainstream movies, a big box-office opening went largely unnoticed: Well, largely unnoticed by the public, not the critics. The Legend of Hercules had high hopes the young male demographic would turn out in droves to see the mythological hero on the big screen—and even a few female fans of Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, who plays the title role. Hopes were dashed last weekend as the only thing legendary about the movie was its flop.
Well, it has been a strange year in cinema. We’ve had movies without plots, without dialogue and without acting—although I guess as long as Vin Diesel is in the business, that’s always a possibility. We’ve had Oscar winners churn out stinkers and first-time actors deliver award-worthy performances. Without further ado…
This may not be the best weekend to venture to the cinema, but if you feel compelled, here’s what’s out there.
September is finally here. Finally. We can stop paying $14 to watch good actors sell themselves out and million-dollar budgets spin down the drain. What’s more, if the early offerings from Lee Daniels and Woody Allen are any indication, the fall should be brimming with Oscar-worthy films. The releases for September beg to differ. It’s not that there’s nothing worth seeing, it’s just that there’s nothing worth nominating--well, almost nothing. Here’s what’s coming in September:
Woody Allen is a film legend. Yes, he has missed the mark on occasion. Yes, he is showing his age. There is no doubt, however, that he is at his best when he simply is telling a story. This film, an uncomplicated tale of a woman who has fallen on hard times, is a prime example. Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen at the top of his game.
Golf is more than a game—it’s an experience and, good or bad, the attire plays a large part. This summer, leave the plaid flat cap and matching knee socks at home; instead, make the most of your day on the fairway with invigorating colors, sports-friendly fabrics and accessories any linksman—or linkswoman—would envy.
After the weekend I’ve had at the cineplex, I can say with confidence that unless you’ve got any of the Oscar winners you need to check off your list, stay home and download a movie. Here are some suggestions:
I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this film. After Woody Allen’s brilliant rise from the ashes with Midnight in Paris, I was expecting big things. Sadly here, Allen seems to have given the green light to a rough draft of a script. There are some great laughs, but unfortunately, almost everything about this movie seems under-thought.
Rue Lafayette held a Midnight in Paris Soiree? As a tribute to the Woody Allen film, guests enjoyed a night of fun and surprises. Guests were given the address to a staircase where they were to go at midnight. As the clock stuck twelve, a vintage Rolls Royce and white horse and carriage picked them up and brought them to the Cafe. Guests wore 1920s attire and listened to a Parisian-style band. Rue Lafayette donated jewelry to Dress for Success. Pictured: Richard Zimmer, Araceli Kopiloff-Zimmer, Pablo Nalerio
It’s an exciting year for Oscar: Lots of firsttime nominees and incredible performances and as always, lots of snubs. Here are the nominees in the six big categories:
Without further ado, these were my 10 favorite films this year (in no particular order):
Due to popular demand, here are the films currently in release that I recommend: Michelle Williams has become an Oscar frontrunner with her stirring portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.
To be honest Woody Allen had lost me as a fan. I haven’t liked a film of his since Mighty Aphrodite, and I haven’t loved a film of his since Bullets Over Broadway. Well, I’m back. Here, the iconic director takes a simple romantic comedy and unites it brilliantly with an existential crisis—all in the most beautiful city in the world. Many Woody Allen fans consider Annie Hall to be his love letter to New York City. This certainly would be his love letter to the City of Lights.
Financial forecasters say that the Great Recession is winding down, with encouraging signs of an improving economy outweighing lingering negative effects such as high unemployment.
I was, emphasis on the word ‘was,’ a huge fan of Woody Allen for many years. From his early comedies to his frenetic New York romances, no one was more in tune with the comedic character study than Allen. Then, it seems to me something went wrong. He moved his settings from New York to London and seemed to be searching desperately for his muse. Once again he has missed the mark. I don’t know if the issues that he finds interesting at this stage in his life—aging, dying, the meaning of life—aren’t that interesting to me, but I truly believe that if a fledgling screenwriter had submitted this script it would not have gotten the green light.
It’s hard to believe summer has come and gone. The kids are back in school, the temperatures’ dropping and the cineplex is brooding. Gone are the days of eating your body weight in popcorn and watching stuff blow up. It’s awards season. And frankly, after some of this summer’s action offerings (The Expendables, Takers), I could use some headier stuff. Here’s what to look forward to:
I have to admit I had my doubts about this movie. The first Toy Story is arguably the greatest animated children’s film of all time, and the second didn’t fall far short of that. They had already hit most of the poignant milestones, and Hollywood knows the Toy Story franchise is a mint. Why put any effort into a sequel that’s going to make a billion dollars at the box office regardless of the quality? Well, I have to say, there are still artists left in the movie industry, and one studio that still employs them is Pixar. Like all artists, some work is better than others, and Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece.
Play: “Laughter on the 23rd Floor”
This is one of those classic ‘wait a minute’ movies. It’s enjoyable if not thought- provoking, amusing if not funny, action-packed if not logical. Then the credits roll, and you sit in your car in the parking lot of the theater and say to yourself, “Wait a minute. That was a complete waste of 95 minutes of my life. I don’t want to be too critical of John Travolta; the guy has been through a tragedy, but clearly he needed some beach house money.”
The Oscars were presented at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 22. You already know who got what. Here are my thoughts: