Not that you even care but here is a list of the latest movies I’ve seen. I’ve either dragged myself to the theater or I rented the movie. Even if I’ve seen the movie twenty times before, if I’ve watched it, I’ll record it here. I’m open to suggestions if you have seen something halfway decent I should watch. As you can tell, I live a life less exciting than most. This page is not updated as often as I like but I do still keep a list of what I watch for when I do update.
Movie descriptions and other information copied from Netflix. No copyright infringement intended. Insight into the movie and critique is wholly mine.
Week of January 1st, 2012 – January 7th
Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13, 2011) 3 Stars. 119 minutes. I’ve never seen Harrison so uncomfortable in any role before. It seemed he was trying to hard and it seemed he wanted to be elsewhere.
Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s graphic novel series leaps to the screen as amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution, where he’s confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Olivia Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde’s minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat.
Green Chair (NR, 2005) 3 stars. 103 minutes. This could have been a tender tale of romance but Jung Suh was such an unlikeable character I started to dislike Ji-ho.
When she falls in love with a handsome minor (Ji-ho Shim), a South Korean housewife (Jung Suh) finds herself at the center of a sexual scandal and hounded by hungry tabloid journalists. She vows to cut him out of her life … but then he reaches the age of legal consent. Cheol-su Park directs this Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee, a tender tale of romance, passion, temptation and consequences.
Week of December 25th – December 31th
Apollo 18 (PG-13 2011) 2.5 Stars. 87 minutes. I am willing to give most science fiction movies the benefit of the doubt but so many, including this one, have let me down that they don’t get the benefit of my wallet. Boring and predictable.
If you buy in to official statements, Apollo 17 was NASA’s last manned mission to the moon. But what if found footage of a secret Apollo mission that had taken place the following year could prove otherwise — and explain why we haven’t gone back?
Earthlight (NR, 1998) 1 Star. 85 minutes. The photography was exceptional. The Earth is beautiful yet the music and the lack of a narrator bored me to tears.
In this one-of-a-kind DVD, the breathtaking prospects from the omniscient eyes of the NASA spacecraft Atlantis reveal the billowy beauty of atmospheric clouds, the brilliant blue of the Pacific Ocean, the sweeping majesty of the Himalayas and the vast red dunes of Africa’s Sahara Desert. Set to soothing instrumental music, the voyage is perfect for those seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both.
Hometown Legend (PG, 2002) 4 Stars. 106 minutes. Just a feel good family movie.
Divine intervention on the gridiron propels a high school football squad to prominence in this inspirational drama from producer and best-selling Christian author Jerry Jenkins. In a town with little hope, the Crusaders, a team of perennial losers, show that a bit of faith can help win battles on the field and beyond. Their dauntless spirit gives the town — and the team’s newest player, a teenage drifter — something to believe in.
Week of December 18th – December 24th
Perfect Creature (R, 2006) 3.5 Stars. 88 minutes. This was less vampire and more thriller. There wasn’t much to like about this movie but I did enjoy what was good about it.
A rebellious vampire named Edgar (Leo Gregory) begins feasting on flu victims in this sci-fi horror film set in an alternate world where vampires live peacefully among people. But the Church has sent Silus (Dougray Scott) to capture Edgar and uncover his chilling secrets. Saffron Burrows co-stars as the police chief who helps Silus hunt down the bloodsucker in Nuovo Zelandia, an alternate dimension of 1960s New Zealand.
The Hunting Party (R, 2007) 2.5 Stars. 97 minutes. I like almost everything Gere has been in but this movie was simply too boring to keep my attention.
Richard Gere stars as a struggling journalist who sets out with a fellow reporter and a cameraman to hunt down Bosnia’s most notorious war criminal, known as “the Fox.” But they become the quarry when their target mistakes them for CIA assassins.
Week of December 11th – December 17th
Death Sentence (R, 2007) 3.5 Stars. 100 minutes. Even though I enjoyed this movie I still could not wait for it to end. I thought it dragged on too long but all in all I like the movie.
Kevin Bacon stars in this dramatic thriller from director James Wan (Saw) as Nick Hume, a grieving father who decides to take the law into his own hands when his son (Stuart Lafferty) is senselessly murdered during a holdup. Kelly Preston, John Goodman, Aisha Tyler and Garrett Hedlund also star in this gut-wrenching drama adapted for the screen by Ian Jeffers and based on the novel by Brian Garfield.
Week of December 4th – December 10th
Flawless (PG-13, 2007) 2.5 Stars. 109 minutes. I like Michael Caine but I did not find this movie the least bit interesting.
On the eve of his retirement, a disgruntled British janitor (Michael Caine), angry over his company’s refusal to pay an insurance claim for his ailing wife, persuades an unhappy American executive (Demi Moore) to join him in a jewel heist. The two subsequently hatch a daring plan to steal the gems from their employer, the London Diamond Corp. Michael Radford directs this crime drama set in 1960s London and loosely based on actual events.
The Insider (R, 1999) 4 Stars. 157 minutes. I really learned a lot during this movie. I paid particular attention to the news stories around this time and thus began my hatred for big American business. I learned a little about 60 minutes too and they lost my respect. Integrity?
When a TV producer coaxes a researcher to speak about his former employer’s knowledge of tobacco’s dangers, the corporations try to silence them in this Oscar-nominated drama based on a true story.
Week of November 27-December 3
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13, 2011) 4 Stars. 136 minutes. It’s really hard to beat the fun and quirkiness of the original and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Cruz but I was entertained by this movie and Jack Sparrow is down in my book as one of the best conceived characters from Hollywood.
Cunningly clumsy Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) meets his match when mysterious beauty Angelica (Penélope Cruz) forces the pirate to join her in search of the Fountain of Youth in the fourth installment of the humorous and action-packed “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Sparrow tries to determine whether Angelica is friend or foe while the riotous adventure sets him aboard a vessel belonging to the fearsome pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
Super 8 (PG-13, 2011) 112 minutes. 4 Stars. Fascinating movie but as with most Spielberg movies with children there was far more profanity that his movies with adults. Playing this movie through the stereo speakers made this movie an experience. If you liked Goonies you might like this as well.
With a nod toward producer Steven Spielberg’s landmark sci-fi films of the 1970s and ’80s, writer-director J.J. Abrams crafts a supernatural tale about six kids who witness something incredible while shooting a movie with their Super 8 camera.
Week of November 20-26
Oldboy (R, 2003) 4.5 Stars. 120 minutes. Very strange and interesting movie with a twist sure to make your jaw drop. The bad thing about the movie is that I figured out the ending long before I should have but I was still shocked when I saw the lead’s reaction to the news. This beats any soap opera that people glue themselves to daily. Even if you don’t like foreign movies, you should see this one.
With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years — and no one to hold accountable for his suffering — a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors, relying on assistance from a friendly waitress. Korean director Chan Wook Park — a former philosophy student and Hitchcock devotee — uses his influences to create a mesmerizing psychological drama with a resolution that will leave you speechless.
AIKa R16: Virgin Mission (NR, 2007) 3.5 Stars. 78 minutes. Pretty good anime that was very humorous. Lots of gratuitous upskirts but you expect that coming out of Japanese anime.
This anime series (a prequel to the “Agent Aika” series) centers around Aika Sumeragi, a high school student who has used her wits and athleticism to qualify for a C-class Salvager license and can now advertise her services to help others. Classmate Eri Shingai requests her help and Aika accepts, which draws her into a mystery involving an assault of a peer and the attempted kidnapping of the girl who might know too much.
Week of July 10-July 16
Red Riding Hood (PG-13, 2011) 2 Stars. 100 minutes. Sometimes you really should just look at the cast of a movie and decide not to waste your time. For me seeing Gary Oldman’s name attached to this project (except for the Batman movies) should have been red flag enough to keep me from renting. I hope you don’t/didn’t waste your time.
In this horror-fantasy reimagining of the classic tale, young Valerie juggles a difficult romantic decision with feelings of fear and grief as her town is terrorized by a legendary werewolf, which has killed her sister and hungers to feast again.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (PG, 2011) 2.5 Stars. 84 minutes. Not as good as the rest of the noteworthy animated superhero movies. Maybe it is because I don’t really get into the Green Lantern, but I really think the film itself was lacking.
Nathan Fillion fills in as the voice of Green Lantern Hal Jordan in this animated six-story anthology of adventures built around the crime-fighting prowess of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps (and based on the popular DC Comics characters).
Week of July 3-July 9
Backstage (NR, 2005) 1 Star. 112 minutes. This is a movie that teaches a lesson. Unfortunately for me, the lesson came too late. Don’t rent this movie.
When an earnest teenage groupie (Isild Le Besco) agrees to run errands for charismatic pop idol Lauren Waks (Emmanuelle Seigner) — the singer she’s dreamed of getting to know ever since they “met” during a superficial promotion — she learns the glamorous life isn’t everything she hoped it would be. Emmanuelle Bercot directs this French-language study of ambition and celebrity in her feature film debut.
Week of June 26-July 2
Source Code (PG-13, 2011) 3.75 Stars. Too predictable yet somewhat entertaining. I would even rent it again if family or friends were interested in seeing it, however, I would try to coax them into watching TimeCop with Jean-Claude Van Damme instead.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrays a soldier recruited for a time-bending government investigation that places him in another man’s mind and body, reliving the same traumatic event repeatedly in an effort to identify the perpetrators of a terrorist bombing. Vera Farmiga plays a communications specialist who provides the vital link to the soldier’s primary reality as he searches for critical clues within a recurring nightmare.
Week of June 19-June 25
Dinner For Schmucks (PG-13, 2010) 1.5 Stars 114 minutes. I think I laughed twice at this movie. They were hard bust a gut laughter but for a movie to claim it is a comedy – I needed more. It was more sad than funny.
Tim Conrad’s (Paul Rudd) boss hosts a dinner party where he invites his friends to bring along the saddest, most pathetic loser they can find. But when the ultimate schmuck (Steve Carell) arrives, his actions somehow turn everyone else into the losers. Comic heavy hitters Zach Galifianakis and Ron Livingston lend able support in director Jay Roach’s (Austin Powers) darkly humorous film, an adaptation of the French comedy The Dinner Game.
Week of June 12-June 18
The Awful Truth (NR, 1937) 5 Stars. 93 minutes. I really can’t impress enough that there is no bad role for Cary Grant. It doesn’t mean every movie he is in is a good movie, however, every portrayal Grant did is an amazing one. A funny movie. This is hilarious!
This captivating screwball comedy stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a married couple who mistakenly suspect each other of infidelity and file for divorce — but then go to ridiculous lengths to make each other jealous. Ralph Bellamy is hilarious as Dunne’s new suitor, Grant and Dunne have rarely been better, and a scene-stealing pooch provides some hearty laughs. Leo McCarey won an Oscar for his sprightly direction.
Week of June 5-June 11
Let Me In (R, 2010) 4 Stars. 116 minutes. I went into watching this remake as if it were the original and I was not disappointed. The friendship in this remake seemed more genuine than that of Let The Right One In, however I still like the original better.
When 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) befriends his mysterious next-door neighbor, Abby (Chloe Moretz), the two outcasts form a tight-knit bond that gives Owen the courage to stand up to school bullies. But he slowly begins to suspect his new friend has a secret. Matt Reeves directs this uncommon coming-of-age thriller based on the award-winning Swedish film Let the Right One In. Richard Jenkins co-stars.
Week of May 29-June 4
The Roommate (PG-13, 2011) 2 Stars. 91 minutes. Boring but if you have nothing else to do you might enjoy picking out the predictability factor before it happens.
While acclimating to campus life, college freshman Sara (Minka Kelly) begins to realize that her new roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester), is becoming obsessed with her. When the unhinged Rebecca starts targeting Sara’s friends and loved ones, can she save them — and herself? This tense psychological thriller also stars Cam Gigandet, Danneel Harris, Alyson Michalka and Frances Fisher.
Skyline (PG-13, 2010) 1.5 Stars. 98 minutes. A very disappointing science fiction film. Another blogger thought this was the worst film of 2010. Why do studios give the green light for a film that sucks on paper? Somebody please make a good sci-fi movie!
After a wild night of partying with friends, Terry (Donald Faison) awakens to discover that he’s one of the few remaining people on Earth. Banding together with a small group of survivors (Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Brittany Daniel and Crystal Reed), Terry sets out to solve the mystery of what happened to the human race. Greg and Colin Strause (whose work includes the visual effects for Avatar and 300) direct.
Week of May 22-May 28
All Star Superman (PG, 2011) 3 Stars. 75 minutes. Just barely kept my attention.
After Lex Luthor tricks Superman into prolonged exposure to solar radiation, the Man of Steel is left with only weeks to live, and the hero’s extraordinary powers are deteriorating. As he prepares for his demise, Superman has scores to settle. Most importantly, though, he must save Earth from Luthor’s diabolical scheme — before it truly is too late — in this feature-length animated adaptation of the DC Comics series.
I Am Number One (PG-13, 2011) 4 Stars. 2 hours. Pure escapism. Very enjoyable science fiction movie even though it was meant for the teenage crowd. Worthwhile for family movie night in.
After nine aliens flee their home planet to find a peaceful life on Earth, their plans are shattered by pursuers who must kill them in number order. Number Four is a teen named John (Alex Pettyfer), who uses his extraordinary abilities to battle his enemies. John’s guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), aids him in his deadly fight while he tries to protect his human girlfriend, Sarah (Dianna Agron), and connect with the others who share his powers.
Week of May 15-May 21
Megamind (PG, 2010) 4 Stars. Entertaining and entertaining but the dialogue lacks in some areas.
When a cunning supervillain (voiced by Will Ferrell) accidently kills his crime-fighting nemesis, the rogue suddenly finds life boring and uninspired. So, he creates a new enemy (Jonah Hill) who seeks to destroy the world, forcing Megamind to play the hero role for once in his life. This hilarious 3D animated feature from director Tom McGrath (Madagascar) also features the voices of Brad Pitt and Tina Fey.
Chris Botti: Live With Special Guests (PG, 2005) 5 Stars Plus. 157 minutes. This is a gem of a DVD. If you like jazz and jazz vocals especially, you will want this DVD for your collection. Every vocalist was sheer perfection but Gladys Knight, Sting and Jill Scott stand out as perfect performances. It’s a fun and entertaining DVD that left me wanting more. Chris Botti has replaced Boney James as my favorite Smooth Jazz artiste.
Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, a gifted composer and performer, has earned widespread admiration in the world of contemporary jazz … and beyond. In this December 2005 concert filmed in Los Angeles, Botti and his band perform a selection of popular standards joined by special guests Sting, Jill Scott, Paula Cole, Burt Bacharach, Renee Olstead, Paul Buchanan and Gladys Knight, with a 35-piece orchestra backing the numbers.
Week of May 8-May 14
Inception (PG-13, 2010) 3 Stars. 148 minutes. Sorry for everyone who loved this movie but once again DiCaprio disappointed. I loved Ellen’s character and always enjoy Watanabe however the movie fails for me. Top-notch special effects!
Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, this unnerving sci-fi thriller stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, who earns a tidy sum infiltrating the dreams of corporate titans to steal their most closely held secrets. Tapped by a rich industrialist (Ken Watanabe) for a job involving a rival’s heir, Cobb marshals a team of specialists that includes his right-hand man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an architecture student (Ellen Page) and a chemist (Dileep Rao).
Mr. Skeffington (NR, 1944) 4 Stars. Sad story with great tongue in cheek lines by all the actors. I would have given this movie five stars but I rented this because Claude Rains is one of my favorite actors. Too bad I found out this is mostly a Bette Davis film and her character irked me throughout the entire movie especially how she treats her daughter.
To keep her embezzling brother out of jail, Fanny Trellis (Bette Davis) weds the very rich Job Skeffington (Claude Rains), but she seeks a divorce when her sibling, angry about Fanny’s one-sided union, runs off to war and gets killed. Coquettish Fanny takes up with a host of men until diphtheria spoils her trademark beauty. Davis earned an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a narcissistic socialite who gets her comeuppance in this bittersweet tale.
Week of May 1-May 7
Salt (UR, 2010) 3.5 Stars. Same tired spy formula movie but I was entertained by this and not turned off by it. Even though I knew every move the bad guys and good guys would make, Angelina kept my interest. No, not because of her looks. I’m not even a fan of hers, however, I wanted to believe she was loyal and not a traitor.
After she’s accused of being a Russian sleeper spy, rogue CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) goes on the run, using every tactic, accent and disguise she knows to elude her pursuers, clear her name and protect her husband. Her supervisor, Winter (Liev Schreiber), buys her story, while counterintelligence officer Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) decidedly does not and will do anything to stop her in this fast-paced, intrigue-filled spy adventure.
Wild Target (R, 2009) 4.5 Stars. 98 minutes. If you ‘love’ dry humor or British comedies (same difference), you will like this movie. It isn’t as funny as A Fish Called Wanda but it is just as clever and I laughed even after the movie was over. Loved it and love Nighy’s character although every time I heard his name I thought of Beverly Hills Cop.
When veteran hit man Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) finds himself unable to kill his latest target, Rose (Emily Blunt), he winds up with an unexpected sidekick, Tony (Rupert Grint), who thinks Victor is a detective in this action-packed comedy from Britain. Now, with Rose and Tony tagging along, Victor tries to deal with the dual forces of his overbearing mother (Eileen Atkins) and a very angry client (Rupert Everett) who wants Rose dead.
Week of April 24-April 30
Rio (PG, 2011) 4 Stars. 96 minutes. Shh! I know the movie is still in theaters but I was getting my haircut and this guy just came in and took over the DVD player. He had a pirated copy of Rio. It was an enjoyable movie with lots of humor only adults would get. After my haircut I stayed to watch the end if that tells you how much I liked it. The kids in the shop liked it too.
When a cooped-up macaw named Blu leaves the confines of his birdcage behind for the tropical climes of Rio de Janeiro, he’s forced to wing it and re-examine everything he knows about life — and being a bird.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (R, 2009) The pace of this movie was too slow and sluggish. When you have a movie that is more than two hours long, it should make you want more and not to want it to end. Boring to me.
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and rebellious computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) team up to investigate the unsolved disappearance of wealthy Henrik Vanger’s (Sven-Bertil Taube) teen niece (Ewa Fröling), only to uncover dark secrets about Vanger’s powerful family. Niels Arden Oplev directs this Swedish thriller based on the first novel from Stieg Larsson’s best-selling trilogy.
Weeks of December 5-December 9 2010 through April 17 – 23 2011
Believe it or not I have been too busy to even watch regular television. Things have slowed down considerably and I now have time to settle down and enjoy, again, one of my favorite pastimes.
Week of November 29-December 4
Knight & Day (PG-13, 2010) 3 Stars. 109 minutes. This was an enjoyable but very predictable comedy thriller. After a long day of cooking and running around in the nude, it was a good escape with new found friends! Don’t know what I mean? See for yourself.
Perpetually unlucky in love, June (Cameron Diaz) becomes intrigued by a mysterious man (Tom Cruise), who unexpectedly drags her into a whirlwind adventure involving devious enemies, life-threatening confrontations and a major discovery that may alter the future of humankind. Directed by James Mangold, this exhilarating action-comedy also features Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace and Viola Davis.
Predators (PG-13, 2006) All I can say for this is that the original is still the best.
Rugged mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody) inherits command of an elite team of human fighters — including dorky-but-dangerous Edwin (Topher Grace) and tough-but-beautiful Isabelle (Alice Braga) — as they are hunted by a race of ruthless alien trackers known as Predators. Director Nimród Antal’s sci-fi action explosion, which also stars Laurence Fishburne and an uzi-toting Danny Trejo, is a direct sequel to the 1987 blockbuster Predator.
Kenny (PG-13, 2006) I found this docu/mockumentary funny at first, then it grew to be irritating like harsh toilet paper on a sensitive anus. I did find his explanation of why we call poop, sh**, to be believable.
Porta-loo deliveryman Kenny Smyth (Shane Jacobson) is probably one of the most underappreciated professionals on the planet. But without him, this much is true: There’d be a lot more crap to deal with. In a comedy of excremental proportions, Kenny makes his rounds with his dedicated Splashdown crew and ultimately finds himself at the mother of all waste management sites — the International Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville.
Week of November 21-November 28
3:10 To Yuma (R, 2007) 3.5 Stars. 122 minutes. I liked the original much better than the remake. Russell Crowe was what made this film otherwise it would have received only 3 stars.
Box office heavyweights Christian Bale and Russell Crowe pool their A-list talents for director James Mangold’s suspense-filled Western, a remake of the 1957 classic starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. Rancher Dan Evans (Bale) agrees to transport the captured outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) to the nearest town with a rail station, where they’ll catch a ride to court in Yuma. But all the while, Wade’s henchmen are plotting their next move.
Week of November 14-November 20
3:10 To Yuma (NR, 1957) 4 Stars. 92 minutes. I am not a huge fan of Westerns but there are definitely some great ones. This is acceptable as a good one and better, I thought than the remake.
When the town marshal offers a bounty for outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), Dan Evans (Van Heflin), a poor rancher hit hard by a crippling drought, takes the job. His wife pleads with him to save his own life by letting Wade go free, but for Evans, it’s a matter of principle as well as money. He takes Wade and begins the dangerous trek to the station.
Air Speed (PG-13, 1998) 2.5 Stars. 98 minutes. Boring unbelievable but nice to see Elisha’s first acting gig.
After being expelled for the third time, spoiled private school student Nicole Stone (Elisha Cuthbert) gets a one-way ticket home on her daddy’s jet. But when an electrical storm sends the airplane into a tailspin, it’s up to Nicole to pilot herself to safety. Joe Mantegna co-stars in this tense thriller released several years before Cuthbert made a splash on TV’s “24.”
Week of November 7-November 13
Nothing this week. Too busy.
Week of October 31-November 6
Splice (R, 2010) 4 Stars. 104 minutes. Very entertaining and cerebral science fiction. If your science fiction doesn’t have to be gory or scary this is a movie you might enjoy. It is not like Species.
Ignoring instructions from the pharmaceutical company that funds their research, groundbreaking genetic scientists Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) continue with an unorthodox experiment to create a human-animal hybrid, a new life form they dub “Dren” (Delphine Chanéac). When they see their fantastical creation, Clive warns that it should be destroyed, but Elsa refuses — a decision she’ll regret when Dren makes deadly plans of her own. See my review posting November 12th.
Destricted (R, 2009) 1.5 Stars. 120 minutes. This is a film worth skipping. Marketed as a statement on pornography yet it is not. It’s even more trash than most porn is and raunchier.
By packing a string of seven erotic shorts into one volume, Destricted removes a bit of the taboo surrounding pornography. Directors range from filmmakers such as Larry Clark to artists from other mediums like Richard Prince and Marilyn Minter. Included are Matthew Barney’s “Hoist,” in which a man gets intimate with a driveshaft; Prince’s “House Call,” a salute to 1970s cinema; and Clark’s “Impaled,” in which he holds auditions for a porn flick.
Week of October 24 – October 30
The Sting (PG, 1973) 5 Stars. 129 minutes. One of the best movies ever made. Amazing acting with an amazing cast. If you like con men coming out on top, this is the movie for you.
After rookie grifter Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) tracks down veteran flim-flam man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) in 1930s Chicago, the duo plans to fleece a homicidal racketeer (Robert Shaw) through a phony racetrack scam involving a string of double and triple crosses.
Week of October 17 – October 23
Robin Hood (PG-13, 2010), 3 Stars. 156 minutes. Entertained by this retelling of Robin Hood, but I was looking for something else. I really wanted to see the story that transpires after the film. Like I said, I was entertained so it was a good movie but if you are looking for the tale of Robin Hood, that is not what you will get from Ridley’s version.
Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride in director Ridley Scott’s big-budget twist on the celebrated legend. When soldier Robin happens upon the dying Robert of Loxley, he promises to return the man’s sword to his family in Nottingham. There, he assumes Robert’s identity; romances his widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett); and draws the ire of the town’s sheriff (Matthew Macfadyen) and King John’s henchman, Godfrey (Mark Strong).
Week of October 10- October 16
The Machine Girl (NR, 2008), 2.5 Stars. 96 minutes. This movie would have been a lot better if there were more believable scenes of blood and gore. Blood does not gush out of a body like a hose or shower and that ruined it for me. I watched about 90% of the movie until the female bad guy’s metal bra started cutting into the breasts of the film’s heroine. Remember what Wesley said in The Princess Bride concerning breasts!
While seeking revenge for her little brother’s murder, Japanese schoolgirl Ami (Minase Yashiro) loses an arm to yakuza villains. Her plight prompts a pair of friendly mechanics to furnish our heroine with a butt-kicking machine-gun prosthesis. As the determined Ami sacrifices more limbs, she receives stronger and deadlier upgrades in this outrageous gore-filled slasher from director Noboru Iguchi.
Strangers On A Train (PG, 1951) 4.5 Stars. 101 minutes. Another great Hitchcock film. Scary good how well Robert Walker played his character.
When Bruno (Robert Walker) meets tennis star Guy (Farley Granger) aboard a train, he confesses he wants his rich father dead, prompting Guy to reveal that he wants to divorce his shrewish wife — so Bruno suggests that they “trade” murders. Guy laughs off the suggestion at first … until he realizes Bruno is serious. This Oscar-nominated noir from director Alfred Hitchcock also features the director’s daughter, Patricia, in a supporting role.
Kick-Ass (R, 2010), 3.5 Stars. 117 minutes. This movie was okay, but without Hit Girl, Chloe Moretz the movie would not have been as good. Forever the prude, her use of profanity did not add to the film.
Inspired by his love of comic books, high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to transform himself into a masked crime fighter — a decision that eventually thrusts the teenager into Internet stardom. Soon, Dave’s antics inspire a wave of would-be heroes to don costumes and live out their superhero fantasies. Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz also star in this comic book adaptation from director Matthew Vaughn.
Week of October 3 – October 9
The Human Centipede: First Sequence (UR, 2009), 1 Star. 92 minutes. This movie is disturbing. Very disturbing and I cannot recommend anyone see it.
After their car breaks down while in Germany, Americans Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) wind up at a remote villa — and soon find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) kidnaps them for his demented experiment to create a human “centipede.” The plan includes removing their kneecaps so they must walk on all fours, then surgically connecting them to a Japanese man to create a bizarre human chain.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (PG-13, 2010), 4 Stars. 75 minutes. Another great addition to the superhero/comic book genre. Supergirl was a great new cast member.
Endowed with powers equal to Superman’s, Supergirl splashes down on Earth in the midst of a hail of Kryptonite. No sooner has she landed than the problems begin for the Caped Crusader, who must rescue her when Darkseid nabs her. To thwart Darkseid’s plans to make Supergirl one of his Female Furies, Batman must join forces with Superman to confront the powerful enemies Darkseid has assembled around his control center in Apokolips.
Week of September 26 – October 2
The Code (R, 2009), 3 Stars. 103 minutes. Kept my attention, but still boring. Morgan Freeman was great as always.
Deeply in debt to the Russian mob, master jewel thief Ripley (Morgan Freeman) recruits a talented burglar (Antonio Banderas) to help him pull off one more daring heist: filching two gem-encrusted Fabergé eggs worth a cool $20 million each. The stakes stack up when Ripley’s criminal creditors threaten to kill his goddaughter (Radha Mitchell), while the cop (Robert Forster) who’s been trying to nail Ripley for years is hot on his trail.
The Maltese Falcon (NR, 1941) 5 Stars. 100 minutes. Classic noir film isn’t for everyone but this is one of the best spy thriller I’ve ever seen. This is the film that got me to like Bogie.
Humphrey Bogart stars as private eye Sam Spade in this Oscar-nominated noir classic that finds the sultry Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) seeking out protection from a man named Thursby. Spade’s partner (Jerome Cowan) takes the case — but he winds up dead, along with Thursby. Spade’s subsequent hunt for the killer leads him into a world of deception and double-crossing, as a trio of criminals searches for a priceless statue known as the Maltese Falcon.
Milo (R, 1998) 1.5 Stars. 91 minutes. Poorly made horror flick that isn’t worth the time it took to push play.
Milo (Asher Metchik) is a peculiar little boy who doesn’t get along with other children. When he kills a schoolmate, four little girls witness the murder and are traumatized for life. Sixteen years later, the girls (Jennifer Jostlyn, Raven Kelly, Paula Cale and Maya McLaughlin) reunite to celebrate a wedding. They believe they’ve put the horrifying event behind them, but as the girls soon discover, Milo’s never far away!
During the time April was hospitalized and then home recuperating, of course we watched movies but I just didn’t feel like updating the blog at all. She’s been better for a while now, but I’ve just gotten around to updating Roll Film. Thanks for being patient, especially you Carizza.
Week of June 6 – June 12
Shutter Island (R, 2010) 2 Stars. 138 minutes. Purposely confusing, but still not worth it.
World War II soldier-turned-U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, but his efforts are compromised by his own troubling visions and by Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley). Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer and Max von Sydow co-star in director Martin Scorsese’s plot twist-filled psychological thriller set on a Massachusetts island in 1954.
From Paris with Love (R, 2009) 4 Starts. 93 minutes. Great action. I haven’t like Travolta ever like I liked him in this movie.
While working at the American embassy in Paris, low-level intelligence agent James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) gets involved in espionage when he’s pulled into a terrorist plot by high-ranking but uncouth American operative Charlie Wax (John Travolta), who’s trying to stop it. Pierre Morel directs this fast-paced international thriller with a script by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element) and Adi Hasak. Richard Durden also stars.
The Mothman Prophecies (PG-13, 2002) 4 Stars. 199 minutes. Richard is one of my favorite actors and he helps make this unbelievable premise, believable.
Reporter John Klein (Richard Gere) is plunged into a world of impossible terror and unthinkable chaos when fate draws him to a sleepy West Virginia town whose residents are being visited by a great winged shape that sows hideous nightmares and fevered visions. Director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road) crafts a subtle chiller that brings otherworldly terror down to earth.
Mystery Team (R, 2009) 2 Stars. 94 minutes. Bad acting, good idea.
At age 7, pint-sized sleuths Jason, Duncan and Charlie solved all manner of kiddie mysteries in Oakdale. Now, at 18, the Mystery Team is about to leave their Encyclopedia Brown-style tactics in the dust with their latest case: a real murder. High jinks ensue in this goofy, fast-paced caper comedy written by and starring Donald Glover, D.C. Pierson and Dominic Dierkes. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Week of March 28 – April 3
Sabrina (NR, 1947) 5 stars. 113 minutes. This original is far better than the Harrison Ford remake.
Industrious tycoon Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) has no room for love in his appointment book until a burgeoning romance between his libertine brother, David (William Holden), and the family chauffeur’s daughter, Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn), jeopardizes Linus’ pending business merger. At that point, the workaholic CEO clears his calendar to derail the romance.
Untouchables (R, 1987) 5 stars. 119 minutes. Excellent television to movie. An example to be followed by others.
G-man Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) will stop at nothing to take down legendary gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) — even if it means bending some rules and breaking some bones! Sean Connery steals the show with his Oscar-winning performance of a tough-as-nails Chicago street cop who shows Ness the ropes. Director Brian De Palma based the climactic shootout on a classic scene from the silent film Battleship Potemkin.
Star Trek: Nemesis (PG-13, 2002) 3.5 stars. 116 minutes. Not everyone thought this was a good movie but I enjoyed it.
This time around, the Next Generation crew members — including Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart), Cmdr. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and, of course, Data (Brent Spiner) — are dispatched as peace ambassadors to their longtime foes, the Romulans. There, they encounter a mysterious new enemy that thwarts not only the armistice process, but Earth itself!
Week of March 21 – March 27
Nosferatu the Vampyre (Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht) (PG, 1979) 107 minutes. 3 stars. Lacked substance to carry the fear all throughout the movie, but the first half is great. The original is still the best.
This stylistic 1979 retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula follows the bloodthirsty, undead count (menacingly played by Klaus Kinski) as he takes over the German village of Virna and then tries to spread his bloodsucking ways throughout the world. All that stands in his path is the lovely, selfless Lucy Harker (Isabelle Adjani). Iconoclastic German director Werner Herzog blends dreamlike imagery and a languid pace to give the film an ethereal milieu.
Inside Man (R, 2009) 129 minutes. 4.5 stars. Great entertainment even though I was able to figure things out early.
Dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery, detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) must match wits with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who’s always one step ahead of the cops. When a loose-cannon negotiator (Jodie Foster) is called on for help, the unstable situation spins out of control. Keith soon finds himself questioning the motives of everyone around him. Spike Lee directs this taut heist thriller about the perfect crime gone wrong.
Deliver Us From Eva (R, 2003) 106 minutes. 4 stars. Wonderful cute movie and Gabrielle is great to watch.
Gary Hardwick wrote and directed this romantic comedy in which three young men pay a “player” named Ray (LL Cool J) to romance Eva (Gabrielle Union) — the gorgeous and single but intolerably meddling little sister of their girlfriends. But no one expected Ray and Eva to fall in love for real — and when they do, they get more than they bargained for!
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (NR, 1939) 129 minutes. 5 stars. Great entertainment. Maybe Congress should watch this again.
When idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) arrives in Washington, D.C., he’s full of plans and dazzled by his surroundings — qualities he retains despite widespread corruption among his cynical colleagues. Jean Arthur puts in a sharp performance as Smith’s streetwise secretary, who helps him navigate his way through Congress, in this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra.
Week of March 14 – March 20
Superman: The Movie (PG, 1978) 4 Stars. Perfect entertainment. Christopher Reeve was the perfect superman. Margot Kidder was a terrible Lois Lane.
The Man of Steel hits the big screen in director Richard Donner’s special effects-laden, Oscar-nominated adventure. Mild-mannered Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) works as a reporter at the Daily Planet alongside his crush, Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) — who’s in love with Superman. Clark must summon his superhero alter ego when the nefarious Lex Luthor (a scene-stealing Gene Hackman) launches a plan to take over the world.
Week of March 7 – March 13
Soul Men (R, 2008) 3 Stars. Not the greatest movie and I didn’t expect much, but it was good to see Bernie Mac again.
Two decades ago, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) went their separate ways when their band broke up. But when their group’s former front man dies, the two feuding singers agree to put aside their differences for a tribute concert at the Apollo Theater. The show promises to be a big hit — if Louis and Floyd don’t kill each other first.
Week of February 28 – March 6
Population 436 (R, 2006) 3.5 Stars. Predictable yet intriguing at the same time. Go figure. Sisto’s love interest is beautiful.
For a century, Rockwell Falls has had the same number of residents: 436. A census taker (Jeremy Sisto) is sent there to figure out how the town managed to accomplish such a dubious feat in this disturbing drama. Once he arrives, he quickly senses all’s not well and is subsequently stripped of his freedom. If he doesn’t fall in line with the village’s oppressive rules, he may end up lost forever. David Ames and Fred Durst co-star.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest (PG-13, 2008) 1 Star. I hate to say this in this way but this movie sucked!
Fiendish Count Dracula (Andrew Bryniarski) spirits away beautiful Elizabeth Murray (Kelsey McCann) hoping to lure her lover, Bram Stoker (Wes Ramsey), to his castle to settle an old score in this chilling horror film from director Michael Feifer. Bram sets off for Transylvania to rescue her, only to discover that his friend Malcolm (Ryan Christiansen) has fallen prey to the bloodsucking nobleman. Dan Speaker plays Elizabeth’s domineering father.
2012 (PG-13, 2009) 3.5 Stars. This movie fit the end of the world thriller format, yet I still found myself engrossed enough to get involved with the characters.
Disaster movie maven Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) crafts this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller following the prophecy stated by the ancient Mayan calendar, which says that the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012. When a global cataclysm thrusts the world into chaos, divorced writer and father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) joins the race to ensure that humankind is not completely wiped out.
No Good Deed (R, 2002) 3 Stars. Good idea but didn’t work and Jackson without a mustache makes no sense.
In this film based on a Dashiell Hammett story, Samuel L. Jackson is Jack, a cop who, while chasing down a runaway, stumbles upon a mob robbing a bank and is abducted by the criminals. They keep Jack at a hideaway with only the ringleader’s girlfriend, Erin (Milla Jovovich), to keep watch. Soon, the two begin to play on each other’s weaknesses, trying to figure out who’s manipulating whom, and later make a connection that trumps all others.
The Box (PG-13, 2009) 3 Stars. Just bearable.
A disfigured NASA employee named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) informs Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) Lewis that they have 24 hours to decide if they want to push a button inside a box that will give them a cool million — but a complete stranger will die at the same time. Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) writes and directs this thriller based on sci-fi writer Richard Matheson’s short story.
Week of February 21 – February 27
Justice League: Crisis On Two Worlds (PG-13, 2010) 4 Stars. That’s what I mean by good superhero cartoons.
Alternate universes collide when Lex Luthor (voiced by Chris Noth) drops in from another dimension, imploring the Justice League to save his version of Earth — where he’s a good guy — from a group of supervillains called the Crime Syndicate.
Predator (R, 1987) 4 Stars. One of the most creative and believable movie monsters ever.
Two real-life governors — Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch) and Jesse Ventura (Sgt. Blain) — use their muscled intellects to pursue a force more sinister than state budget crises. It’s an otherworldly creature deep in the jungle adept at slaughtering our best-trained fighters, and worse yet, it’s practically invisible. Special effects, dizzying camera work and a sci-fi bent elevate this gory horror-actioner, making the 1990 sequel a given.
Whiteout (R, 2009) 2.5 Stars. Boring as staring at the snow on your TV screen during a blizzard. No suspense.
The lone U.S. Marshal at a research station in Antarctica, Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) stumbles upon the continent’s first murder victim. With only three days left until the sun sets for six months, Carrie races to solve the complex mystery before darkness falls. Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber, this tense thriller also stars Gabriel Macht, Alex O’Loughlin and Tom Skerritt.
Week of February 14 – February 20
L’Amant (UR, 1992) 2.5 Stars. Weird and interesting ‘love’ story.
Set in French Colonial Vietnam in 1929, this Oscar-nominated film explores the erotic charge of forbidden love. A 15-year-old French girl is sent to a Saigon boarding school, where she meets a 32-year-old Chinese aristocrat. Love at first sight leads to a liaison where the lovers revel in a variety of sexual encounters. They both realize that their love is doomed, however, as neither of their families will approve of the interracial coupling.
Week of February 7 – February 13
The Stepfather (UR, 2009) 3 Stars. Didn’t know until after the movie that it was based on a true story. I would have given it only 2 stars.
Mom’s (Sela Ward) new boyfriend, David (Dylan Walsh), isn’t quite right and Michael knows it. A series of mysterious events leads the teen to suspect that David might in fact be a dangerous serial killer known for preying on families. Now, all he needs to do is gather evidence before it’s too late. Nelson McCormick directs this spine-tingling remake of the 1987 thriller based on the real-life story of killer John Emil List.
Week of January 31 – February 6
Surrogates (PG-13, 2009) 3 Stars. Just average sci-fi movie with James Cromwell playing his usual character. Boring.
Based on Robert Venditti’s graphic novel of the same name, director Jonathan Mostow’s sci-fi thriller is set in a futuristic world in which humans hibernate at home while living their lives vicariously through robot surrogates. When a series of mysterious surrogate murders occurs, FBI agent Greer (Bruce Willis) ventures out into the world for the first time in years to investigate. Radha Mitchell and Ving Rhames co-star.
Lust Caution (NC-17, 2007) 4.5 Stars. Stunning photography and an interesting tale.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee (the steady mind behind films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) directs this intriguing espionage thriller set in World War II-era Shanghai. Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Joan Chen and Lee-Hom Wang co-star in this foreign-language tale about a young actress (Wei Tang) caught up in a complex plot involving love, assassination and seduction, based on the writings of author Eileen Chang.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (PG, 1969) 5 Stars. I love anything Bond. This first installment is a classic.
George Lazenby takes over the role of Agent 007 for what many consider to be the finest Bond film ever made. Bond tracks archnemesis Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas) to a mountaintop retreat where he’s training an army of beautiful but lethal women. Along the way, Bond falls for Italian contessa Tracy Draco (Diana Rigg) — and marries her! The ski chase sequence is a classic.
Week of January 24 – January 30
Snow Falling On Cedars (PG-13, 1999) 5 Stars. Great story. Youki Kudoh is absolutely beautiful.
When a fisherman is found drowned, suspicion falls on Japanese-American Kazou Miyamoto (Rick Yune). Local reporter Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) may hold the key to proving Miyamoto’s innocence, but there’s a problem: Chambers is also in love with Miyamoto’s wife (Youki Kudoh). The smoldering tensions of World War II ignite into open racial conflict in director Scott Hicks’s powerful period drama set in the Pacific Northwest.
Week of January 17 – January 23
Pandorum (R, 2009) 3.5 Stars. Better than usual sci-fi thriller but still lacking something.
Upon rousing themselves from hyper-sleep, Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster), a pair of crewmen assigned to work on a spacecraft, discover startling gaps in their collective memory — including who they are and what, exactly, their mission was in the first place. The plot thickens when they realize they’re not the only ones on board the ship. Cam Gigandet co-stars in this gripping sci-fi thriller.
Downloading Nancy (NR, 2008) 1 Star. Sad tale of a woman who cuts herself.
Sick of her life, housewife Nancy (Maria Bello) just wants it to be over and done with, but rather than kill herself, she hires a stranger from the Internet to do the job for her. But fate takes a strange turn when she meets her killer (Jason Patric) and the two fall in love. Of course, Nancy realizes that love and murder do not naturally go hand in hand. Rufus Sewell and Amy Brenneman also star in this thriller.
Week of January 10 – January 16
Legend Of The Red Dragon (1994) 4 Stars. Entertaining martial arts movie with Jet Li as the star. The child actor who plays his son steals the show.
An honorable warrior (Jet Li) and his young son wander China, defending those who cannot fight for themselves. The warrior finds out about a secret map tattooed on the backs of five boys that shows the location of a treasure that a sect of Shaolin monks hopes to use to reestablish their temple. The pair vows to protect the map (and the five boys) from a deformed and seemingly invincible villain as well as a mother-daughter pair of thieves.
Roman Holiday (1953) 5 Stars. Excellent movie!
Audrey Hepburn, the essence of 1950s chic, stars in an Oscar-winning performance as a cosseted European princess who goes AWOL in Rome and is soon taken under the wing of tabloid journalist Gregory Peck and his photographer sidekick, Eddie Albert. She thinks the boys don’t suspect who she really is, but they’re onto her — and sense a sensational story if they can just keep Audrey’s handlers from retrieving her too soon.
Week of January 3 – January 9
The Three Musketeers (PG, 1993) 4 Stars. Worth watching again. See Oliver Platt when he was thin.
“All for one and one for all” is the motto of the three loyal swordsmen in this rousing adventure. Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Porthos (Oliver Platt) and Aramis (Charlie Sheen) band together to protect their king from the evil schemes of Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry). An eager novice, D’Artagnan (Chris O’Donnell), joins forces with the legendary trio in hopes of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a Musketeer.
Week of December 27, 2009 – January 2, 2010
Ever After (PG-13, 1998) 5 Stars. I almost hate to admit I liked this chick flick but I definitely do. Drew Barrymore was excellent.
Drew Barrymore stars as the put-upon princess-to-be in this fresh look at the classic fairy tale. Orphaned as a child, Danielle (Barrymore) is treated like a servant by her wicked stepmother (Anjelica Huston) and two stepsisters. When Danielle accidentally stumbles onto Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), who’s fleeing an arranged marriage, the two inspire each other to resolve their respective troubles in this lushly produced romantic fable.
The Ref (R, 1994) 4 Stars. Course language throughout but hilarious!
Gus (Denis Leary), a burglar, is about to score on Christmas Eve by breaking into a posh home in the suburbs. His plans change when he trips up the alarm and takes the occupants hostage. Or is it the other way around? After all, his hostages include the house’s owners, an endlessly bickering husband (Kevin Spacey) and wife (Judy Davis) on the verge of divorce, and Gus finds himself refereeing their blistering — and constant — arguments.
The Princess Bride (PG, 1987) 5 Stars. One of the best comedies of all time.
In this enchantingly cracked fairy tale, the beautiful Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) and the dashing Westley (Cary Elwes) must overcome staggering odds to find happiness amid six-fingered swordsmen (Christopher Guest), murderous princes (Chris Sarandon), Sicilians (Wallace Shawn) and rodents of unusual size. But even death can’t stop these true lovebirds from triumphing. Fred Savage and Peter Falk co-star.
Freezer Burn (UR, 2007) 2 Stars. Sad older man, younger girl scenario disguised as scifi.
When cryogenics researcher Virgil Stamp (Robert Harriell) falls for Emma (Ella Rae Peck), a juvenile schoolgirl half his age, he schemes to use his cutting-edge technology to freeze himself and then thaw himself out 15 years later, when he and the girl will be the same age. But Virgil emerges from suspended animation early — and faces some seriously unintended consequences. Charles Hood directs this comedy; Jamie Milward co-stars.
Up (G, 2009) 5 Stars. Cute and thoughtful. Life is precious and no one should be taken for granted.
After a lifetime of dreaming of traveling the world, 78-year-old homebody Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) flies away on an unbelievable adventure, with Russell, an 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer (Jordan Nagai), unexpectedly in tow. Together, the unlikely pair embarks on a thrilling odyssey full of jungle beasts and rough terrain. Other voices include the renowned Christopher Plummer and Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger.
Food, Inc. (PG, 2008) 4.5 Stars. Amazing and scary truths about the food we consume and they way it arrives on supermarket shelves. A must see for everyone.
Robert Kenner’s documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment. Kenner spotlights the men and women who are working to reform an industry rife with monopolies, questionable interpretations of laws and subsidies, political ties and rising rates of E. coli outbreaks.
District 9 (R, 2009) 2 Stars. The movie sucked so bad I couldn’t watch the whole film.
When aliens land on Earth, global business conglomerate Multi-National United forces them into rigid containment zones where they are compelled to labor, even as MNU commandeers their otherworldly technology for profit. As tensions build between human and non-human races, a rogue agent leads a resistance movement against MNU’s ruthless consolidation of power. Neill Blomkamp directs this cinema verité-style sci-fi thriller.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (PG-13, 2009) 3 Stars. I can usually figure out the outcome of most films and this was no different, however, more obvious. Still worth seeing.
Michael Douglas stars as corrupt district attorney Mark Hunter in this remake of Fritz Lang’s noir classic about a reporter, C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe), who sets himself up as the prime suspect in a murder he didn’t commit in order to expose Hunter’s misdeeds. Nicholas’s plans go awry, however, when Hunter discovers the trap and destroys the evidence that would exonerate the cub reporter. Amber Tamblyn and Orlando Jones co-star.
Bill Cosby: Himself (PG, 1983) 5 Stars. Clean very funny humor. Very clean and very funny. The Dentist is a classic!
Bill Cosby, television’s favorite avuncular funnyman and one of the longtime masters of stand-up comedy, treats his fans to this funny, satirical and heartwarming live concert from Canada. Riffing on such varied subjects as the trial by fire of marriage, parenthood and the side-splitting antics of toddlers, and even a hilarious encounter at a dentist’s office, Cosby will tickle your funny bone until you hurt from laughing!
Week of December 20-26
We got married on December 14th and honeymooned until December 24th. Saw no movies during this time frame.
Week of December 13 – December 19
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (PG-13, 1983) 4 Stars. Some very funny and memorable moments.
Deck the halls with boughs of laughter — the Griswolds are back! Clark (Chevy Chase), Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and the kids (Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki) gear up for the holidays in this installment of the “Vacation” series. As per usual, all the good intentions in the world can’t save the family from disaster…or Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid, who practically steals the show). This special edition includes brand new special features.
A Christmas Carol (NR, 1951) Great version but not the scary one I remember from childhood.
Considered by many to be the classic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, this 1951 version stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, the callous miser visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Michael Hordern plays the spirit who successfully haunts the old man. Co-starring in this seamless sketch of Dickens’ England are Hermione Baddeley, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison and a young Patrick Macnee.
Carriers (PG-13, 2009) 2.5 Stars. Just another I’ll kill you if you make me sick virus movie.
As a lethal virus spreads across the globe, brothers Brian (Chris Pine) and Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), along with Bobby (Piper Perabo) and Kate (Emily Van Camp), seek a supposed plague-free haven. But while circumventing those infected, the travelers begin to turn against one another. Real-life brothers Alex Pastor and David Pastor write and direct this apocalyptic chiller, which co-stars Christopher Meloni.
Week of December 6 – December 12
[•Rec] (R, 2007) 4 Stars. Original is far better than the American remake. This is the one to see.
Trapped in a quarantined Barcelona apartment building with residents, firefighters and a growing horde of ravenous zombies, television reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo, record brutal deaths and terrifying events while trying to stay alive. Filmed entirely from unseen Pablo’s point of view, this tension-filled Spanish horror film thrills viewers with its aggressive action. Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró direct.
Cavite (NR, 2006) 2.5 Stars. Just didn’t get into it. I did learn a lot about the Philippines.
Filipino-American Adam (Ian Gamazon) comes face to face with contemporary geopolitical realities when he returns to his homeland to attend his father’s funeral. Barely off the plane, Adam receives a chilling phone call saying Muslim terrorists have abducted and will kill his mother and sister if he doesn’t comply with the radicals’ demands. As the stakes grow exponentially, Adam must confront impossible choices in this fast-paced indie thriller.
Week of November 29 – December 5
Fist of Legend (NR, 1994) 4.5 Stars. Of course no one can be Bruce Lee however, Jet Li comes very close!
Before the outbreak of World War II, Japanese troops occupying Shanghai threaten the city’s most revered martial arts teacher. When the master is killed, star pupil Chen Zhen (Jet Li) returns to avenge his teacher’s death and set things right. With blistering action and old-fashioned fight scenes (with minimal use of wires), this remake of Bruce Lee’s classic Fist of Fury from director Gordon Chan highlights Li’s timing and acrobatic ability.
A Christmas Carol (NR, 1951) 5 Big Stars. Not the original but most definitely one of the best.
Considered by many to be the classic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, this 1951 version stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, the callous miser visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Michael Hordern plays the spirit who successfully haunts the old man. Co-starring in this seamless sketch of Dickens’ England are Hermione Baddeley, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison and a young Patrick Macnee.
Week of November 22 – November 28
Let The Right On In (R, 2008) 4 Stars. One of the best vampire movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), the constant target of bullies, spends his time plotting revenge and collecting news items about the grisly murders plaguing his town. But things change when he meets a new girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), a misfit vampire who steals his heart. As a serial killer continues to prey on teen boys in their small Swedish village, Eli helps Oskar find the courage to stand up to his tormenters.
Silverado (PG-13, 1985) 5 Stars. Not a fan of westerns but this movie was just a great film.
Two brothers, ex-prisoner Emmett (Scott Glenn) and current prisoner Jake (Kevin Costner), team up with a butcher named Mal (Danny Glover) and Paden (Kevin Kline), a man left to die in the desert by outlaws, to take on the crooked sheriff (Brian Dennehy) of Silverado. Their families, who all live in the New Mexico town, depend on their heroics. Jeff Goldblum co-stars.
Taking of Pelham 123 (R, 2009) 4 Stars. Two of my favorite actors. Great remake but lacked something… Just couldn’t put my finger on it.
When a group of hijackers led by criminal mastermind Ryder (John Travolta) take the passengers aboard a New York subway train hostage and demand a king’s ransom, it’s up to subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) to bring them down. Directed by Tony Scott (Man on Fire), this action thriller — an update of the 1974 film from Joseph Sargent.
Jurassic Park (PG-13, 1993) 5 Stars. Despite the six huge mistakes in the film, it still remains one of my favorite movies of all time.
Multimillionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has a plan for a new theme park: a secluded island where visitors can observe dinosaurs, cloned using advanced DNA technology. But when an employee tampers with the security system, the dinosaurs escape, forcing the visitors to fight for their survival. Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern star, as their computer-generated co-stars chew the scenery in this action-packed thriller.
Week of November 15 – November 21
Star Trek (PG-13, 2009) 4.75 Stars. I understand the villain was bad but he wasn’t evil enough. They still need to correct the past. I guess there’s another sequel planned already.
Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his trusted team on the starship USS Enterprise boldly go where no man has gone before in this installment of Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi franchise that follows the early days of the intergalactic adventurers. The crew includes Spock (Zachary Quinto), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Sulu (John Cho). Eric Bana co-stars, and Leonard Nimoy appears as an older version of Spock.
Gran Torino (R, 2008) 5 Stars. Great life story. I was touched and Ahney Her is a stunningly beautiful woman.
Curmudgeonly Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) must confront his Hmong immigrant neighbors — and his own long-held prejudices — when the family’s teenage son, Thao (Bee Vang), tries to steal Walt’s beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Walt soon assumes the unlikely role of guardian angel to young Thao and his sister Sue (Ahney Her), both of whom are vulnerable to local gang influences.
Groundhog Day (PG, 1993) 5 Stars. Just a movie that I laugh at no matter how many times I see it.
In this offbeat existential comedy from director Harold Ramis, self-centered television weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pa., to cover the annual appearance of the town’s world-famous groundhog. After unleashing his bitterness on his producer (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman (Chris Elliott), Connors realizes he’s doomed to repeat Groundhog Day until he learns that his actions can affect the outcome.
Die Another Day (PG-13, 2002) 4 Stars. Halle Berry…
Bond … James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) … takes on a North Korean leader who uses an experimental “facial mutation” device that allows him to assume different identities. The opening sequence features 007 heading toward his top secret mission via surfing monstrous waves. Madonna (who wrote and sings the theme song) plays a fencing instructor, and Michael Madsen and Halle Berry are U.S. secret agents who help Bond.
Week of November 8 – November 14
Boy Eats Girl (R, 2005) 2.5 Stars. Bad B movie but Samantha Mumba is in it. Worth renting for that reason alone.
Resurrected by his mother after a tragic accident, 17-year-old Nathan (David Leon) awakens with a taste for human flesh. Next thing you know, a run-in with a school bully (Mark Huberman) sets off events that spread Nathan’s “condition” all over town. Meanwhile, the undead Nathan tries to curb his appetite for his dream girl (Samantha Mumba) in this tongue-in-cheek zombie romp also starring Laurence Kinlan and Sara James.
Nana (R, 1983) 3.5 Stars. Bad acting in every way but on a cool fall day with little to do, it was adequate.
Katya Berger plays a nymph in Paris. Men lavish their wealth and attention on her but her appetites grow to insatiable. She throws caution to the wind and risks it all on her hedonistic lifestyle. She leaves a bevy of broken hearts as she revels in forbidden love after forbidden love.
Week of November 1 – November 7
Cry Freedom (PG, 1987) 5 Stars. If you are a Denzel Washington fan and have not seen this movie, it is a must see.
In a segregated South Africa, black nationalist Steven Biko (Denzel Washington) and white newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) are unlikely friends with a common goal: ending apartheid. When Biko’s beliefs land him in prison and he’s covertly murdered by South African authorities, Woods rallies to expose the injustice. Based on Woods’s books Biko and Asking for Trouble, the film earned Washington his first Oscar nomination.
Week of October 25 – October 31
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (PG, 2009) 4 Stars. Awesome. Showcases the talent and the man.
A moving Michael Jackson experience like no other, this spectacular performance piece showcases the King of Pop singing many of his beloved hits at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the days leading up to his untimely passing. Full of unforgettable moments fans will surely cherish, the program was recorded during the rehearsals for Jackson’s highly anticipated string of 50 London concerts.
Monsters vs. Aliens (PG, 2009) 3.5 Stars. Great science fiction for kids. The children I babysat enjoyed it. One unnecessary expletive. Stephen Colbert as the president was priceless.
After Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is struck by a meteor and grows to be 50-feet tall, she’s captured by the government and shuttled to a secret compound where she meets a team of other monsters — soon to be Earth’s only defense when an alien attacks. Under orders from the president (Stephen Colbert), Susan and her cohorts Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), the Missing Link (Will Arnett) and B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) set out to save the world.
Week of October 18 – October 24
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (PG-13, 2009) 4 Stars. Great action but lots of foul language.
Unlikely hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his girlfriend, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), return with tough-as-nails Capt. Lennox (Josh Duhamel) to assist the Autobots in another epic battle against the evil Decepticons in this supercharged sequel to the 2007 megahit.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (PG-13, 2009) 4.5 Stars – Great to see all the Superfriends villians. Not meant for children.
In the ultimate play for power, megalomaniacal villain Lex Luthor pits Superman and Batman against the public by stripping away their hard-earned superhero status and re-branding them as rogue outcasts who can’t be trusted. Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown voice the characters.
Land of The Lost (PG-13, 2009) – 1 Star – The funniest part was the first three minutes with Matt Lauer. Not for children.
After accidentally uncovering a portal to an alternate universe peopled with dinosaurs, Sleestaks and other strange creatures, park ranger Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) and his two kids are forced to navigate a dangerous new world.
Week of October 11 – October 17
Battlestar Galactica: Caprica (NR, 2009) 4 Stars – Too much unnecessary nudity.
Set half a century before the “Battlestar Galactica” series, this feature film follows industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) as he harnesses powerful technology to create the first-ever Cylon in the wake of a personal tragedy. Gravely concerned about Graystone’s ethics, attorney Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), father of future admiral William Adama, becomes a fervent opponent of the powerful scientist and businessman.
American Violet (PG-13, 2008) – 5 Stars – Highly recommend it.
Inspired by true events, this penetrating drama centers on Dee Roberts (Nicole Beharie), a 24-year-old mother of four who’s forced to take on a corrupt district attorney (Michael O’Keefe) when she’s unjustly prosecuted in a large-scale drug case. Directed by Tim Disney, the inspiring tale also stars Alfre Woodard as Dee’s mother, Alma, Tim Blake Nelson as ACLU attorney David Cohen and Will Patton as retired narcotics officer Sam Conroy.
Week of October 4 – October 10, 2009
Obsessed (PG-13, 2009) 3 Stars – For predictable movie, it was pretty good.
Enticement leads to terror when a sexy office temp forms a dangerous fixation on a successful and happily married asset manager. Derek Charles (Idris Elba) is good at his job; so good that he’s recently earned a big promotion. He’s worked hard to get to the top, and when his workday is finished Derek has the luxury of returning home to his beautiful wife, Sharon (Beyoncé Knowles), and their healthy newborn child. But Derek’s perfect life begins to crumble when sexy new temp worker Lisa (Ali Larter) goes to work at the office.
Femalien (UR, 1997) 4 Stars. Good softcore with believable non penetration.
There is a thinly veiled attempt at creating a plot and at acting in this fairly dirty blue movie. Kara (Venesa Talor) is sent to experience bodily pleasure by her alien species, which leads to numerous unconnected, plot-irrelevant encounters with all kinds of buxom babes and buff guys. The pool, the massage parlor, the avant-garde theater–these kooky humans seem to be going at it everywhere! Plenty o’ skin.
World Is Not Enough, The (PG-13, 1999) 4 Stars – My least favorite Pierce Brosnan Bond
Greed, revenge, world dominance, high-tech terrorism — it’s all in a day’s work for James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), who’s on a mission to protect beautiful oil heiress Elektra King from notorious terrorist Renard. From Spain to London to the highlands of Scotland — and, finally, to a dramatic submarine showdown in the Bosphorus Sea — Bond races to defuse the international power struggle that has the world’s oil supply hanging in the balance.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (PG-13, 2009) 4.5 Stars – It left me wanting more X-Men.
Wolverine, fan favorite of the X-Men universe in both comic books and film, gets his own movie vehicle with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a tale that reaches way, way back into the hairy mutant’s story. Somewhere in the wilds of northwest Canada in the early 1800s, two boys grow up amid violence: half-brothers with very special powers. Eventually they will become the near-indestructible warriors (and victims of a super-secret government program) known as Wolverine and Sabretooth, played respectively by Hugh Jackman (returning to his role) and Liev Schreiber.