Showing posts with label ****stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ****stars. Show all posts

Monday, October 7, 2013

'Prisoners' ****


'prisoners' is a damn good film. jake gyllenhaal and hugh jackman are at the top of their game. it's one of the best thrillers i've seen in years. it's tough, suspenseful and gritty. it's not for the squeamish or faint of heart. child abductions never make for easy viewing. this is not the exception.
kudos to director denis villeneuve for keeping me on the edge of my seat for 153 minutes. and for making me not dislike maria bello and melissa leo as much as i usually do. 
i have a feeling it may get lost in the oscar madness even though it is one of the best reviewed films of the year. it is certainly in my top 10 as of this date.




Monday, July 1, 2013

'Before Midnight' ****stars


'before sunrise' celine and jesse had a chance meeting with the promise to meet in six months in vienna when they got their lives in order.  nine years later 'before sunset' we learn that jesse showed up but celine did not due to a death in her family. but the connection was still there although jesse had married and had a son. would he stay with celine and leave his wife? we find the answer to that still another nine  years later 'before midnight'
within this trilogy we go from romantic interlude to the ups and downs of a marriage. each film shows the growth of these two characters and their aging as well. ms delby and mr hawke grow in each film not only in character but in their acting. they triumph in this well written and directed film. it's tougher than the first two installments but life does get tougher as we get older, look back at our choices and wonder what the future will bring.
although it stands on it's own i recommend that you rent the first two installments to fully appreciate the third.
i hope being released early that it does not get lost at year's end. as of this moment it is the best film of the year.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

' The Dark Knight Rises' ***stars


'the dark night rises' is a good film. it's a fitting finale to this particular series. it satisfies in it's finale.  it is not a great film however as the first in this particular series was. the original 'batman begins' was a triumph. this is a good action film. it's villian bane is no match for heath ledger's the joker in installment two. and somehow christian bale as batman himself is surprisingly a supporting player. the best moments come from the surprises in the characters played by joseph gordon-levitt and marion cotillard. 

if you think i am going to bash anne hathaway you're are only partially correct. ms hathaway plays the catwoman well. catwoman is cold and calculating which pretty much describes the acting technique of ms hathaway. both catwoman and her portrayer have all the charm of a meat clever. therefore, ms hathaway did a fairly good job. this is the most complimentary i can be re her career so far.

if you have seen the first two episodes of this trilogy you owe it to yourself to see this third installment. it's good but a bit too long. it's just not great damnit.

marion lights up most any film she appears in. this is no exception.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

'Magic Mike' ***stars


'magic mike' is so much more than the way it has been packaged, it is the story of a man. his journey. it sure has some great sights for women and gay men. no doubt. but the story behind these male strippers is real and heartwarming.

channing tatum is a charmer. he has the best smile on screen today. and he can act. when he is serious he has the intensity of a montgomery clift. in playing himself he takes a risk. the risk pays off. he is truly one of the best of his generation. if he makes 'smart' choices he will evolve and stay around for years to come.

the true find for me in this film is actress cody horn as brooke. as the love interest she sweetly shines.

go see this one. get a large popcorn and enjoy.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'War Horse' ****stars

'War Horse' is Steven Speilberg's epic anti-war film. From lofty farmlands in Britain to the battlefields of World War 1 France it remains an engrossing and powerful film. This is the best Spielberg has offered in years and will eventually be seen as a classic.

Jeremey Irvine in his film debut is wonderful. He does not miss a beat as the boy who believes in his horse Joey. Together and apart they both become heroes in the messy reality of war.

In one single scene, which is most reminiscent of 2005's 'Joyeux Noel', the frutality of war and the humanity of the men who fight in them touches your heart and senses in a few brief minutes.

Do yourself a favor and get yourself to a theater near you to see this masterpiece. It is meant for big screen viewing as it is a 'big' film. It will certainly be a contender for the best picture come oscar night.


trailer
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The King's Speech' ****stars


a story of friendship and trust. two men from two different classes come together and damn what a bond is formed. the evolving friendship is told and directed so well by tom hooper that we are just swept along through it's ups and downs and we are never let down.


colin firth is brilliant as the stammering king george vi his king is brilliantly supported by geoffrey rush as the non royal friend and teacher lionel logue. the bond they form is at first trying but grows for the lifetime of both men in real life. a wonderful helena bonham carter returns to a 'quieter' role as the king's wife later to be known as the queen mum when daughter elizabeth becomes queen. jennifer ehle radiates as the wife of logue.

the rest of the supporting cast truly support with wonderful performances each. no one misses a beat.





colin firth deserves the oscar this year as he did last year ('a single man") and perhaps this year the academy will hand it to him. he is quite amazing and has grown so much over the past few years. well the reality is it's the parts he's getting. they are better and he makes them better still.

i see a definite oscar nom for rush and quite possibly another for bonham carter. picture, director and screenplay are a lock.

go see 'the king's speech' as it may well win the oscar for best picture. my vote is heading in it's direction fast and furiously.


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Saturday, January 1, 2011

All Good Things' ***stars


a love story, a crime story, the tale of a madman. good production values and better acting raise it above what might have been a lifetime movie of the week. it keep me engrossed and that's enough for me.

two thoughts: i can understand why ryan gosling's star is on the ascendant but can't understand why kirstens dunst's star has dimmed. she is beautiful, talented and charming. it's time for her to be noticed again.

lily rabe, daughter of jill clayburgh, in a supporting role is a scene stealer but no jill clayburgh.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

'The Social Network': ***stars


a likeable cast lifts lifts a story of mostly dislikable characters. and with all his whimsy and childish charm jesse eisenberg can't make facebook founder, well more like facebook thief, mark zuckerberg, any less despicable than he actually is/was.

still aaron sorkin authors an amazingly involving screenplay, brilliantly directed by david fincher and deftly edited by kirk baxter and angus wall. but this does not a 'best picture' make. well not for me at any rate.

the real kudos for me go to andrew garfield as the blindsided and betrayed eduardo saverin and armie hammer in the dual role of the less than shall i say intelligent winklevoss brothers, tyler and cameron, who are more brawn than brain. i actually thought real life twins were playing these real life twins. this is the best dual role play since hayley mills in 'the parent trap'. quite a feat mr. hammer.

okay the bottom line is this: if you are an oscarbater go see it. it will be nominated for multiple awards unless the next two and a half months bring multiple surprises which i doubt. but who knows? for me it's a nominee not a winner.  but then again 'the english patient', 'out of africa' and 'the hurt locker' were winners. so all bets off.

also ask yourself this: do you really really care enough about the history of facebook. truly i don't.





Monday, September 13, 2010

Remembering Claudette on Her Birthday

claudette colbert....france's greatest export to the states. claudette personifies what a film legend is. she spanned all of the movie experience. from silent films she easily and gracefully moved to talkies. from black and white she became more enchanting with the move to color. and from the big screen to the small screen she rounded out her career with the mini series 'the two mrs. grenvilles'. oh yeah there were the broadway triumphs too. claudette is gone to her peace but lives forever on celluloid. she won one oscar ('it happened one night') but deserved at least two ('since you went away').  i was first introduced to her work via 'since you went away' on television. it remains in my top ten of all time favorites. heck it also introduced me to the wonderful jennifer jones, joseph cotton, robert walker and guy madison. what's not to love!


her well deserved oscar was for 'it happened one night' and at 74 years old it is still one of the best comedies ever made. it defines classic film.


her 'cleopatra' still makes elizabeth taylor's look like a high school performance by an understudy.


'the sign of the cross' is still a risque romp filmed and released before hollywood had a 'standards and practice' rule.



'midnight' is another classic comedy. a wonderful romp really.





there are soooo many more but i'll single out 'the palm beach story', 'imitation of life' and 'three came home' also among my favorites.




so here they all are together. i'm rating them ****stars apiece as they all withstand the test of time. they need to be judged by the era in which they were filmed. they are classics all.



so thank you claudette for your grace, your charm and you forever enduring performances.



R.I.P.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'Playing for Time' ****stars

one of the best tv movies (1980) has been released this month. the extraordinary talents of vanessa redgrave and jane alexander raise this holocaust drama above most holocaust films. it is a gift that someone finally saw fit to give it a dvd release.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

'Every Little Step' ****stars


it's really not fair to judge a documentary on the same playing field as a movie. so 4 stars for 'every little step is appropriate. it stands high above other 'theatre' documentaries released.

let's go back to 1975 when choreographer/director michael bennett had an idea after recording hours and hours of broadway dancers or 'gypsies' experiences on why they became dancers and their experiences getting work. he wanted to make a musical of it all. enter marvin hamlisch and joe papp and more an idea would come to life.

in 1976 this 'little' show opened off-broadway at the joe papp theater where many 'little' shows had their start. this show was 'little' as it han no setpieces except for a mirror, minimal props and they were mostly hats and dancers bags and it had no stars. no names. no above the title name recognition. well this 'little' show became the must see show of the 1975 season and made it's move to broadway where it became the longest running show until those idiot 'cats' came along. it took home a basket full of tony awards that year 9 out of the 12 it was nominated floor including bennett as director, the amazing kelly bishop as for best featured actress and of course best musical. unfortunately kelley's win meant a loss for the equally amazing priscilla lopez...it was a coin toss. then there was the featured actor win by sammy williams who tells his story on how and why he became a dancer. his was an amazing performance that goes down in history as a monologue to remember.

slow forward to 1985 when hollwood decided it was time to film this brilliant piece of musical theater. enter acclaimed director richard attenborough. we know mr. attenborough never directed a musical before this. upon seeing the movie it is conceivable that mr. attenborough never ever never saw a musical prior to this time. wgat a frackin' mess. here we have a show about dancers and this director forget the actors have feet. enough of this piece of toxic celluloid.

now a real slow forward to 2006 when a broadway revival is mounted. it was real good. it was not the original but stood on it's own merit. it did win two tony's including best revival of a musical.

so now we go back to the beginning of this little bit of history. the documentary 'every little step'. it traces the audition process for the revival...it becomes the real 'chorus line' story. intermingled with this audition process of high hopes, shattered dreams and a dream come true is archival footage of the original tapes, the original show and it's original conception and creation.

it is brilliant. it is truth. it is sad and joyous at the same time. please please please rent or buy this dvd. if you love or even like musical theater you owe yourself this pleasure. if you don't like or love musical theater i'm not sure why the hell you are reading my blog in the first place.

if you have netflix and a compatible blu ray or play station it is also available on streaming video.

i can't recommend this enough...so now i will stop...no i won't...SEE THIS FILM!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

'The Blind Side' Today on DVD and BLU-RAY: ****stars



today's your lucky day. buy or rent 'the blind side' with the best of the BEST performances of 2009: sandra bullock!

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