Showing posts with label ***1/2stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ***1/2stars. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'Rust and Bone' Releases on Bluray and DVD Today ***1/2stars


marion cotillard's brilliant, yes brilliant as in absolutely brilliant performance, gets it's bluray and dvd releases today. it was a success on the 'art house' scene last year and got some play in a simplified wider release. ms cotillard received critical acclaim, won a few awards, was nominated for many but was ultimately snubbed by oscar. she was in good company. remember ben affleck anyone? 



this film is intense and often diddicult to watch. it is one of the best of 2012. yes it is in french thus subtitled. don't be lazy: read. be smart rent this movie.


did i mention it has a brilliant performance by marion cotillard? i love this actress as an actress and it doesn't hurt that i believe she is currently the most beautiful woman on screen today.




trailer

  marion's interview with charlie rose

Monday, September 24, 2012

Finally Someone Who Agrees with Me about 'The Music Lovers'

 i actually love most of the madness of director ken russell. this is madness personified in visual lushness. this film should have made richard chamberlain a 'star'. glenda jackson is brilliantly courageous. it is not for the weak of heart, mind or spirit.

video

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Look Back at 2011's 'Take Shelter' ***1/2stars



2011 gave us two apocolyptic films. the brilliant 'melancholia' and it's extremely close runnerup 'take shelter'. a man on the verge of a breakdown as he has visions, dreams, of the impending end of the world. michael shannon who stole 'revolutionary road' from kate winslet, leonardo decaprio and kathy bates, turns in one of the best performances of the decade. he is up and coming and oneday will have an oscar on his mantle. he is simply put brilliant. jessica chastain gives another great performance which is one of many she showed in 2011.
althugh i believe 'melancholia' is the better 2011 apocalyptic films of 2011 his is the more accessible to a wider audience. i can't recommend them enough if you love film.




trailer

Sunday, August 5, 2012

'Carnage' *1/2stars

it has never taken me this long to see a kate winslet film. it was just the matter of lousy distribution last fall. i now understand why this limited release never quite expanded. it is awful. kate and one of my favorite directors, roman polanski, promised something great. well they did not deliver. this is a boring mess. and did i really need to see kate puke into a vase of tulips? no i did not and neither do you. but i can take heart as ms winslet did not give the worst performance in the film. that dishonor is taken by jodie foster. she is just dreadful. what the hell happened to her talent? christoph waltz is mostly awful. the only 'good' performance is given by john c. reilly who has the thankless job of being married to foster's character. he deserves a quickie divorce. although i admire his performance it can't redeem this piece of garbage. nothing can. mr polanski what the frack were you thinking? but more to the point what the hell were you thinking kate? you always made often great, generally good and somewhat daring choices. but since your oscar win you are going the way of many best actress winners. to performance hell in a hand basket. first you choose the embalmed 'mildred pierce'. now this. you get a brief stay of execution with 'contagion' sandwiched between these two disasters. anyone who reads my blog knows i've championed you for years. they also know i think you are a brilliant talent. i beg of you to get back to the kate of 'the reader', 'little children', 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind', 'finding neverland', 'hideous kinky' and so many more.  this film is like the carnage of your excellent career. enough already. i forgave you for 'all the king's men'. i can't stand watching you flush a brilliant career with dreck like this.
and mr polanski have you lost your mind?


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman' ***1/2stars



'the amazing spiderman' actually amazes. the 3d is great. the action is almost nonstop. the cast works, but it is andrew garfield as peter parker who along with the special effects makes the admission price more than worth it. he is a charmer to be sure. he was the best thing about 'the social network' and fulfilled the promise in 'never let me go'. he may be the best of his generation right now. he is so damn charismatic! emma stone was 'good' as gwen stacey but seems a bit 'old' for garfield. whereas mr. garfield did not make me miss tobey maquire the although lovely and talented ms stone made me long for kirsten dunst. andrew and kirsten would have worked better and fit better together. but that is a minor gripe.

sally field and martin sheen were the perfect aunt may and uncle ben.
denis leary and rhys ifans supported the whole well.

the story takes us back to the moments peter parker found out hoe he became spidey and why he did' it's a good ride. get the popcorn and soda and enjoy. it even calls for a return visit. see it in 3d. it works for this movie.







trailer

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ken Russell's 'The Music Lovers'


1970's The Music Lovers' is a bizarre yet intriguing film by Ken Russell. It should have made Richard Chamberlain a film star. sadly it did not. Perhaps the then closeted actor played it just 'too gay' for hollywood's comfort. glenda jackson (two time oscar winner) as always gave a brilliant performance as his nymphomaniac wife nina. it's all too much fun really and any russell fan would admit though not his best it's his second best. 

it's never been released on dvd but for those of you with netflix and have the ability to watch their streaming films it's currently available. between the music of Tchaikovsky and dazzling visuals it's pure entertainment. if you are puritanical move on it's not for you.

some highlights:

video

In Ken Russell's own words: "It's the story of the marriage between a homosexual and a nymphomaniac."

video



Thursday, December 2, 2010

'127 Hours': ***1/2 stars

james franco gives the performance of his career and possibly one of the best performance by an actor this year. it certainly is one of the best performances of all time.



danny boyle (slumdog millionaire) directs a minor masterpiece. the grand canyon costars with mr. franco as the alps did with julie andrews in 'the sound of music'. the terrain sets the man vs nature scenario. james franco shows the passage of these 127 hours all over his face. he is really quite remarkable.

if you don't know the story here it is in a nutshell: adrenalin junkie aaron ralston literally gets stuck between a rock and a hard place. to survive he must amputate his arm. he does. and he survives to live another day.

there is an amazing scene of a storm as the hero is caught in the canyon. it is beautifully directed and photographed. it sent shivers thru me.

this is not an easy film to watch in it's second half. however, you should not miss it. and to miss james franco's performance would be criminal for any film lover.













 james franco and director danny boyle


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Agora': A Remarkable Important Film ***1/2stars




'agora' is a good film that did not find an audience mainly because earlier this year it was released in select cities but never opened wide. it did open in europe in 2009. it's a historical drama set in ancient alexandria that pits pagans vs the new but thriving christian cult and after that the now established christian cult against the jews. it pits them all against science. does any of this sound familiar? i was taught that we study history to see where we came from and learn from past mistakes, one, and i've also been taught that history repeats itself, two. the latter appears to be the truth. 

first we must look at the rise of the christian or jesus cult that grew as the roman empire lost it's strength. the multiple gods thinking was being replaced by monotheism. and all would accept it or be damned. damned as in be persecuted and put to death by being skinned or stoned to death. ah christianity!  insane clerics, literally insane, would be made saints and called martyrs upon their death because they went after those jews, philosophers and scientists who would not convert to the new faith. sweet arrogance. again i ask: does any of this sound familiar? 

for my american readers i ask you to think about the current climate in the states today. we have a political party that basically denies science. political candidates who do not believe in evolution or climate change. to them stem cell research is something against nature. we have political candidates running for office who freely wear nazi garb and call their opposition nazis.  i think you see where i'm going. these 'new christians' on the right who disavow science, make a mockery of jews and mock jews by espousing hitler like tactics and vocabulary. this newest jesus cult condemns an entire religion for the fanaticism of a minority. muslims anyone? and yes they do not recognize science. science is to them evil. they think jesus would not like science. i think they should remember jesus supposedly changed water into wine. a damn good bit of chemistry going on there friends*. i think jesus would like science. jesus was a philosopher first and foremost. he was not a king or a god until the 3rd century when elevated by a cult preying on the fears of the downtrodden. but i digress or think i do.

'agora' is an important film. it is a necessary film. i am not surprised that it has been seemingly suppressed in the united states. it is an ancient story mirroring our modern day. how the hell does that make us modern?

today you can see this film. it is available on dvd. if you are a thinking person you owe it to yourself to see it. if you care about history and our humankind past you owe it to yourself to see it. if you believe history should not repeat itself you owe it to yourself to see it.

the film is well directed by alejandro amenabar ('the sea inside', 'the others'). the well cast film is headed by rachel weisz, max minghella, oscar isaac and rupert evans all of whom excel.

it is quite possibly one of the most important films of our times.

*on a personal note i believe jesus was a great man, prophet and philosopher. no more, no less.





trailer

video

on dvd now



Saturday, October 23, 2010

'Hereafter' ***1/2


clint eastwood continues to amaze me. he never looks back. he takes on new material with every directorial effort. and he always seems to succeed. 'hereafter' is the newest success. i'm never ashamed to say i cried...ever! and this film had tears rolling down my face intermittently a number of times. why? not too sure. maybe it was just the cumulative effect of the number of deaths i've lived through my whole life packed into 2hours and 9 minutes. but i am not saying this is a sad film....it isn't. nor is it a joyous film in that we now know what the hereafter is as we don't know this any more after seeing the film than the moment before it began. but it touched something deep within me. that says a lot to me. i liked these moments and the feelings. i liked the film in it's entirety also.

matt damon just keeps on growing as an actor with each role. he and eastwood ('invictus") make a good team. the rest of the cast, mostly unknown to me, all delievered the goods. there was no weak link in the cast.

'hereafter' heads into my top 5 of 2010. is it brilliant? no. is it eastwood's best? no. but it is damn good and better than most releases. is it a masterpiece? no. but it is a minor masterpiece.

'hereafter' touched my spirit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Academy Award Winner 'The Secret in Thier Eyes' ***1/2stars


academy award winner 'best foreign film' of 2009 is a great mystery and a story of love's labors lost and found. justice and pain and injustice and more pain all collide. it's that rare intelligent film which is always welcome.

trailer

video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

'The Town' ***1/2stars


like most i wondered if ben affleck's first directorial effort, 'burn baby burn', was a one time fluke. well we need wonder no more. with 'the town' he is proving himself to be a director to be reckoned with. and he gets everything out of his cast that they have to give with no holds barred. 'the town' is a damn good film.

it has oscar noms wriiten all over it at the moment. there are three months to go.

and he directs himself better than anyone else has. unlike streisand who can give herself no direction, ben keeps his own performance in check. and who the hell is rebecca hall? keep this woman working. she goes to the head of my class. and damn blake lively breaks out as a strung out single mom leaving her rather glamorous image way in the dust. give her a supporting nom now! 

run now to see this film...yes film. it soars way above 'movie'. it's almost a work of art. keep on directing ben. you're a natural.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

'Remember Me' on Blu Ray and DVD ***1/2stars




what a pleasant surprise.truth is i rented 'remember me' after seeing 'twilight the eclipse' and falling for the vampire edward more than i had in the past. so i wondered what robert pattinson could do in a non vampiric role. well he does admirably if not extremely well. he plays brooding and distant best. but his distance is not off putting. you root for him in love and family and inner war. coping with loss, family dramas, a distant father and a needy sister whom he adores he captivates. meeting the would be love of his life ally causes confusion and a past event involving her dad almost destroys their probability and possibilities.

i have to say that half way through the film i was wondering where the film was going. i was half expecting the post teenage angst ending. damn was i wrong. the film takes unexpected turns. and then a truly unexpected turn that is neither forced nor contrived nor meant to shock. it just happens as life just happens. i offer no spoiler as it would be criminal.

emilie de ravin as ally grew on me as she began to grow on mr. pattinson's tyler hawkins. chris cooper gives his usual all to the role of ally's dad and ruby jerins as caroline hawkins the kid sister holds her own in a necessarily strangely written role.

and what can i say but having lena olin on screen even for a short time is always a wonderful joy.

but is pierce brosnan that is getting to me. negatively. earlier this year he walked through 'the ghost writer' only looking halfway decent because he was generally paired with the worst performance so far this year of kim cattrall. pierce get it together. you are really just phoning in your performances lately.

but back to...

i wondered how a non vampiric robert would do. well i still do not agree with the james dean comparisons except for maybe the shoulder thing. i still contend he moves more into the montgomery clift intensity zone. and like montgomery his eyes can say almost anything and everything. i'm glad he followed the first 'twilight' films with this sober independent outing which he also 'executive produced'. he certainly proves he has the chops post vampire.

yes i admit mr. pattinson is turning me into a dewey eyed dope. and i'm not complaining.

oh i almost forgot: rent it. damn i'm buying it.