Gone Girl Review

Let me start out by saying I read this book over a year ago. And I liked the book…somewhat. Or more specifically, I thought the book was okay. Just okay. But I had heard that people who didn’t go crazy about the book in return LOVED the movie. So when I got around to seeing this film, I was optimistic. I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan but I do like Rosamund Pike, the British actress who got the main female role, as well as some of the supporting players in the movie, including Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. So there I go, all prepared to like it, though not love it. And I would say it met my expectations but most definitely did not surpass them.

The plot revolves around a couple, formally happily married, who move from NYC to Missouri to be closer to his family. After the move, their relationship begins to slowly unravel. All of this does not help when the wife goes missing and the husband is less than upset. Is she dead? Where’s her body? Did he kill her? Why isn’t he more distraught?

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stagecoach

By far the best western film of 1939, Stagecoach is a cinema treasure for a variety of different reasons, the most important being it was the film that put John Wayne on the movie map and also is the first major pairing of director John Ford and star Wayne.

Ford and Wayne made 14 films together. They were friends as well…buddies to the end. And, that friendship comes across on screen in each of their films. But, it all truly began with Stagecoach. I said earlier the pair had made 14 films together…well, that is not counting the seven films Ford made with Wayne as just an extra in the late 1920s/early 1930s.

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gone-with-the-wind

One of the most beloved and acclaimed movies of the 20th Century, Gone with the Wind is the winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Best Actress winner Vivien Leigh stars as Scarlett O’Hara, who is one of the most timeless characters in cinema history, not to mention one of the prettiest Southern Belles ever. From Margaret Mitchell’s iconic novel on life in the South before, after, and during the Civil War, Scarlett becomes engrained in the American consciousness as the epitome of beauty and selfishness. She spends most of her time pining over a man she can never have (Ashley Wilkes), and when she wins him over, she wants the man she has had all along (the infamous Rhett Butler). Her fickleness comes off mostly as charming – the men in her life understand that this is how she is. And every time she is let down by one of her beaus, her Mammy (Best Supporting Actress winner Hattie McDaniel) is right there to help Scarlett survive. After all, tomorrow is another day!

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ninotchka

Ninotchka might be the greatest unknown treasure of 1939. Many people have never heard of it, yet alone seen it. It is one of the finest comedies of the 1930s, and in my opinion, Greta Garbo’s best role.

Ninotchka is most famous and known for the fact that it’s a Greta Garbo comedy. Garbo was a well-known actress – iconic almost – so when she made her first comedy, I guess it was natural that the film’s tagline of “Garbo Laughs” revolves around only her and not around the movie, director, or other cast members.

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moneyball-march

The Ides of March and Moneyball are two relatively recent films in which Philip Seymour Hoffman did not star, but rather provided crucial, essential and, as always, very strong supporting performances.

The Ides of March is a film that George Clooney not only stars in but that he also co-wrote and directed. And, really, he’s not the star here. Like Hoffman, Clooney is just a supporting player here. At the heart of The Ides of March is the Ryan Gosling character, Stephen Meyers. Stephen is the crux of this story. He is the pivot which all of the other action and characters revolve around. Stephen is a deputy campaign manager for a presidential candidate (Clooney) who at first seems untouchable. But soon, skeletons appear peeking out of the closets. Stephen finds himself caught in the middle of a potential scandal that could bring down both the campaign and his own career. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the candidate’s senior campaign manager. His time on screen is limited, but as always with Hoffman, his performance is larger than life and full of passion and vigor.

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maxmary

I’m not that fascinated by contemporary animated films. I love what Aardman Animation does (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep), but aside from that, most animation of today leaves me yearning for the non-computerized animation of the past…where tedious work was done all by hand to bring to life a spectacular finished product. This is why when a colleague recommended an animated film for adults and older kids entitled Mary and Max, I was highly skeptical. And, boy was I surprised at what awaited me.

Mary and Max is done in the “Claymation” style of animation, meaning CLAY animation. Claymation has advanced since the days of watching Davey and Goliath in grammar school (if you are not familiar with D&G’s stop-motion style of Claymation, don’t worry – it was not worth remembering). This movie’s animation, in addition to the sweet, touching story, is most definitely worth remembering, and even savoring. Mary and Max are both endearing characters that will stay with you for a long time. I do tend to gravitate towards holding “sad sack” characters in higher esteem…Eeyore was always my favorite Pooh character, as well as the Looney Tunes’ Elmer Fudd, and the ever-pathetic Dopey, the silent dwarf. Mary and Max both fall into that category…each being sad, lonely and lost in their own unhappy worlds.

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pirate-radio

Right off the bat I will say it: NOT MY KIND OF MOVIE. But, oh well, Pirate Radio has a great cast so I thought I would give it a whirl. And, when it began, I almost said I told you so to myself. But, then the plot really kicked in and the characters all came to life right on the screen and boom, before I knew it, I was hooked.

Not by the music (most of which is pretty much the kind of music I like), not by the 60s culture, but by the characters. You REALLY get involved and attached to the characters…all of them. They all have their own quirks that really give each of them panache…and then all of them together give the movie a special touch that resonates with audiences…because they will all know characters like this. In a cast lead by Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (the token American), other British actors including Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Nick Frost and even Oscar-winner and icon Emma Thompson all lend their own spice to add color and vibe to the film that already rock with 1960s British pop.

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monu-men

I wanted to like The Monuments Men. Actually, I wanted to love it. I mean, off the bat, what’s not to love. George Clooney. Matt Damon. Need I go on? But, we also have Hugh Bonneville, who I love from TV’s Downton Abbey. And then also Jean Dujardin, the sexy Oscar-winner from The Artist. Add in favorites Bill Murray and John Goodman for comic relief and you have a dynamite cast that could rival the cast of Clooney and Damon’s Ocean’s movies.

Alas, I should have just watched this one on mute and looked at the pretty scenery (and also the French countryside). But, I did not. And while it’s not a horrible movie, it sure does not live up to the full potential of its illustrious cast.

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