Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

Awwww, geez. We've seen it all before. Though this is brilliantly cast, the story is old. In order to keep your interest, there is one orgy scene after another. Mostly naked women, not naked men, As usual. There is a lot of frantic drug activity, bizarre and manic sexual behavior, strange dialogue and ridiculous situations- leading one to believe that the director (Scorsese) mostly wanted to watch naked women having sex with often fully dressed men. I can't decide- it is THREE HOURS which automatically puts it on the Flickerchick's DO NOT SEE list. If you can't say it in 2 hours, it better be the best movie ever made. It is exhausting to watch- endless and inexplicable. The story is simple enough- "based on" is also a pet peeve of mine. People leave the theater thinking they know the story. Names were changed. Who cares? If you saw Boiler Room- then you've seen this movie all ready. Did Scorsese not remember Boiler Room?  Was it not good enough for him? Well, this is not an improvement. It is a self-indulgent, somewhat pornographic, drug glorifying chance for Scorsese to show what he can get actors to do. I don't get all the good reviews- it is a one trick pony. Of course, Leonardo DiCaprio is still fun to watch as he turns the corner to middle age. It is obvious when a body double is used, however. If you like Leo, then there is lots of him- in virtually every scene. But if you've seen Boiler Room, then skip it. Or at least wait until it is on cable and you can hit pause. I'll give it 2 stars because the actors made it through in one piece.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Inside Llewyn Davis

Moses wept. This Cohen brothers film is about a week in the life of a folksinger, Llewyn Davis, in the year 1961. An interesting note is that all the musicians, including Oscar Isaac (Davis), had to play and sing- no lip synching or fake guitar. That is the only impressive thing about this. Llewyn is a loser. His music partner committed suicide. He goes around impregnating women and then raising funds to provide for an abortion. He is disliked by his father and sister.  He acts like an artistic brat with his own obnoxious affectations yet he is forgiven and given a place to eat and sleep by people he has treated like dirt. It is, you see, his right as an artist.  He has so little feeling for others and that is symbolized by his relationship with a beautifully calm orange tabby. In the end, the tabby meets the same fate as everything else in LLewyn's life. He has a peculiar disregard for life and is seemingly unable to care or love. When he is beaten up, you don't feel sorry for him. He is dislikable and irritating; moderately talented but full of himself; a man who seemingly feels nothing while being ingratiating and rude. In other words, he is a jackass. One other thing about having a lead character so unlikeable is that it  leads to is boredom. You heard me- a Cohen brothers movie that is just damn boring.  It is hard to believe that a team that has made cult classics like Fargo and Raising Arizona, as well as making one of the best movies of all time, No Country for Old Men, could actually sit down and make such an abysmal film. I'd like to give it 2 stars because maybe something redeeming can be seen in it- but this is a movie for which there is no audience. I'm sorry. Go back and rent Fargo or No Country. It'll be better for you. I'm giving it one star because of the guitar playing and the cat.

American Hustle

Yet another film like Philomena and The Butler comes out of the woodwork.  To call it "based on" the Abscam scandals would be a joke. At least, this time, they changed the names of the people involved- which is a good idea since it is, after all, mostly fiction. This may be the most miscast movie ever. Some movies are brilliantly cast- like Gone With the Wind. But had GWTW been as miscast, then Fred Astaire would have been Rhett and Mae West would have played Scarlett. There is ZERO chemistry among the leads. Amy Adams has (so far in her career) been incapable of projecting the sex siren character. Jennifer Lawrence seems (so far in her career) incapable of moving her face, but projects all of her emotions through the random tear and her husky voice. Bradley Cooper plays the bumbling FBI agent as a frantic, virtually manic, lothario. Saddest of all is the misuse of Christian Bale as a con man used to work the sting. You've seen this type of movie a zillion times. Bad guy has to work with the feds to catch other bad guys or he'll go to prison. It is SUPPOSED to be a comedy, I think. Yet, I laughed even less than the 5 or so other people who laughed a few times. I was really expecting a fantastic movie- how could it MISS? Ugh. But miss it did- in a sorry, sadly acted, poorly scripted film. I'd say you should skip it. It shouldn't have ever happened.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Based on a book about a Magdalene girl, Philomena Lee, this story is about an 18 year old Irish Catholic girl who commits the unpardonable sin of having a child out of wedlock. She is sent to a convent to be one of the Magdalene women who were literally held in virtual slavery by the Catholic nuns for years while their children were sold to Americans for a few thousand dollars. In 2002, another film, The Magdalene Sisters, was made that was excellent. Judy Dench plays Philomena as a deeply indoctrinated faithful woman who believes in her own sin, and she also plays Philomena as a simpleton, if not an almost spineless dimwit. Lee searched for 50 years but, at times, couldn't stand up for herself against the evil that caused her misery. Of course, and shamefully, the filmmakers did NOT follow the TRUE story. Again, you would be asked to believe a true story told as a lie. I am so tired of Hollywood doing that. This year seems to be one of the bigger years for retelling a good story with lies and hearsay. If Judy Dench weren't so good in this, it would be a sad retelling indeed. Please do me a favor- read the ACTUAL story of Philomena Lee before you see the movie. She found where her son was (actually her daughter JANE found her brother by searching the internet!) before she ever contacted a reporter. Her son's significant other was welcoming and kind to Philomena. Her son was HAPPILY working for the Republicans. etc etc. Don't fall for this as a true retelling- it is not.  I won't give it 92% like everyone else (obviously rated by people who don't feel cheated by needless Holllywood BS used to make political points or by writer's manipulating people by outright lying) However, if it makes the audience aware of the abysmal and hateful treatment of unwed mothers all over the world, then it is worth sitting through.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This movie cinches the likelihood that Katniss will move from no 2 to no 1 on the list of cat names. I digress.
Signs of rebellion are everywhere. It's the 75th annual Hunger Games- and oh wait, there's a CATCH! Now that Katniss is so popular, and her symbolic mockingjay is being used as a symbol of freedom and dissent, it just might be time to revoke that "once you win you never go back" rule.
So back goes Katniss and the band of 25 year old "teenagers" to fight to the kill.  But Katniss, being a brave and smart girl, seems constantly to be thinking  "what's wrong with this picture?".
I won't spoil it, because if you haven't read the book written for adventuresome 12 year olds, you won't want to know how it goes.
The special effects are great.  The acting is great - though I take exception to the lack of expressiveness on Jennifer Lawrence's face- in fact, the very last scene made me chuckle. She is supposed to be showing a new resolve and determination and what it really looks like is she is going from bored to not so bored!

About Time

Boy, the holidays make me late with this review! This is a sweet love story movie based on the premise of some time travel on the part of the charming male lead (Domhnall Gleeson) (you've never heard of him either)(and could never spell it again) and his relationship (complete with time travel "do overs") with the adorable Rachel McAdams. For some reason, guys also like this movie- maybe because most guys would tell you that a "do over" would come in handy for most of their dates. It is charming. Nothing that special, but if you had some time to spare, it wouldn't be the worst choice you could make. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ender's Game

First of all, you must know that Ender's Game is actually from a sci-fi book that was written in the 80s. It is Young Adult (YA) in theme. Big parts of the book are omitted, so don't expect that from this film. That said, the use of children as strategic leaders is still the same. Ender is played by the very experienced Asa Butterfield (lately of HUGO). He does a wonderful job as the precocious child capable of hard decisions in the "battlefield", but empathetic enough to be a leader. It is a common enough theme, but Ender's Game adds an adult involvement that actually encourages that sort of child aggressiveness.  There isn't enough tension in it to make you too nervous- and you won't really be on the edge of your seat, because most of us know it is part of a serial, therefore, Ender won't be killed off right away, if ever. Harrison Ford looks positively CREAKY in this- he is physically stiff and somewhat rote in his performance. Hilariously,  Ben Kingsley shows up all dramatic in tattooed face. (really? yes.)  And Viola Davis is sort of the space academy shrink trying to put in her two cents about these being children, after all. I liked it a lot because I did not expect it to be Star Trek 21 or whatever. In fact, I had no expectations whatsoever. There isn't a lot of adult banter or inside jokes because there aren't any to be had. SO for adults, it might be a little beneath them. I can see a 12 year old boy going CRAZY over this. There is violence. But not shootings or stabbings- just beatings. The special effects are pretty good- I mean, I believed in the huge ants. So, if you like sci-fi and like being able not to be too worried about how things work out, this is your cup of formic acid. Just saying. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


First of all, yet another "true" story that misleads the audience. What for? The true story is good enough- in real life, these race drivers were very good friends, roommates for a while, even- why make it contentious? Sigh. After you see it, go read up on these fascinating men. And they have a story without the BS.  Okay- rant over. This is a reallly realllllly good movie and you should see it. Soon. It is about the 1976 Formula One race car season and the top two drivers- Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Niki and James are real rivals- James being the ebullient, hard living Englishman and Niki being the analytical, disciplined Austrian. Their relationship is really the heart of the film. Not being able to leave the truth alone, they are first class rivals and the result is a tragedy. I have to say that the best thing about this is the script- not much time is lost and though it is a racing film, there isn't enough racing to make it boring. In fact, the race scenes are filmed with energy- you really feel the speed. I don't think the movie could have been better cast- Hemsworth and Bruhl were born to play these roles.  Several other movies have gotten higher scores than this, but I don't agree with that at all. I really loved it. Go see it.  (PS, Richard Burton paid James Hunt over one million dollars to divorce his cheating wife so Burton could have her. She was leaving anyway so why not?)

Captain Phillips

You know, I always rag on Tom Hanks for being such a Droopy Dog imitator. Always the same mugging- boring and overdone. But this time, I have to give him credit- this time, he is NOT playing his usual gig, he is actually ACTING. Now, from the beginning you pretty much know Hanks isn't going to die- except for Philadelphia-you know he'll be fine. So you can relax and watch the Hollywood version of a true story Somali pirate take-over of a cargo ship. Some reviewers said the Somalis wound up being sympathetic- you are supposed to identify with them, excuse them and feel sorry for them. That's a bad policy and stupid filmmaking because it implies that torturing and stealing and the occasional murder are just something one has to do. I didn't identify with them. It is made clear by the dialogue that we are supposed to see that it is so HARD to be moral in countries that are run by bullies and criminals. That may be so, but stealing ships and terrorizing and kidnapping the innocent people running them is NOT justifiable. Nope. I think Tom Hanks absolutely acts his hiney off in this. He is mesmerizing at the end. And now, I believe he is finally the actor he could have been if he hadn't been sidelined into some unfortunate roles along the way. I liked the movie, even though it is sort of  a lie- Capt Phillips is not only not beloved by his crew, he is evidently sort of a risk taking jackass in real life and is being sued by the real crew. 

Friday, October 4, 2013


Oh my. This is basically about astronauts (Clooney and Bullock) who are out doing stuff on the Hubble, and a disastrous Russian miscalculation results in a chain reaction of destruction of various satellites that are thrown into an orbit so fast that they make it around the earth in 90 minutes, wreaking havoc all the way.  Of course, it hits them and Bullock is thrown into space. I can't tell you more because, after all, you can pretty much figure out someone must survive or there'd be no movie. The special effects are awesome! Bullock is the best she has ever been- in fact, she must have been to the gym 9 hours a day to have that body. I'm not even gay but I had a solid appreciation for that. Also, it is short- certainly not more than an hour and a half for the actual movie?  That makes it even better. It is a 4 star movie for sure. And for a little baffling back story-originally they wanted Angelina for this- I kid you not. When she said 20 mill or nothing, they brought it to Scarlett "God I'm boring" J and SHE said no. (Thank you , Jesus). Then they went to Natalie "I am almost as boring as Scarlett" Portman.  At least Jolie has a LITTLE gravitas. The other two- good grief. But the fates smiled on us and put this in the competent and believable hands of Bullock. So forget all the scientific BS in this and just watch it for what it is. The cast is really only 2- and I don't think it could have been done better.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

In A World

Everyone in "In A World" looks familiar to you. It is written, directed and "stars" Lake Bell, and lots of other randoms that even if you stay to see the credits, you'll still be wondering how you know that actor. You will recognize the cameo by Eva Longoria- where she has to put a cork in her mouth. I've been trying to get a director to do that to her for a LONG time.  It's about the highly competitive VoiceOver industry, at least on the surface. Otherwise it is about relationships. And it is funny and sweet most of the time. I really, really liked it. The script was pretty tight, the acting was great and the humor was appropriate. I didn't know what to expect- but I was very surprised by it. Lake Bell is charming as the heroine, and the rest of the cast holds up their part of the bargain. The movie flies by- it felt like it lasted an hour, but it was a good deal longer. If you like movies where you aren't hit over the head with a message, then this is the movie for you!!! It would be a shame for such a little gem of entertainment to be passed up by main street theatres.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Usually I don't think much about Woody Allen movies. I go to them because I like their rather off hand ambience. I don't always love them, but I'll go because I think Woody Allen is a master of characterization. He doesn't need bombs or flashes or sometimes, not even wit. Maybe the reasons actors like to work with him is because they really can assume an identity that stays true to itself. And certainly, an actor with flaws really drowns in Woody Allenland.  Here is where I come from- I didn't like Annie Hall, but I LOVED Match Point. And now, there is this. I think this may be the best Woody Allen movie ever made- not just for the script, but for the incredible cast. Cate Blanchett will win the academy award. I don't see how she could lose unless Meryl Streep makes a movie where she ACTUALLY dies on camera. Blanchett is so painfully raw and so mentally ill. She cannot believe something wrong has happened to her life since she was raised to believe her life would be different from her other adopted sister because she had "the good genes". Her name is too common for her- so she becomes Jasmine.  She steps into wealth with a sense of entitlement, refuses to see her husband's infidelities or crimes though she knows it all exists, feels pity for her sister because she is somehow "less", and cannot work a simple job because her vodka and xanax soaked brain has left her a muddled mess. She believes in charitable giving- though she does worse than nothing for her own sister (see the movie).   Like other Allen films, there is a twist at the end- I cannot tell you what it is- but you will find what has driven Jasmine to this misery is what she has done to herself.  I really loved this. I think it was flawless. If you don't give it thought after seeing it, you will miss the point. Go see it. 

The World's End

Okeedokee- just what IS this movie? A nostalgic movie about an alcoholic who wants to round up his mature friends in an attempt to relive a juvenile golden moment (pub crawl) that was not completed? Or is it a robot movie? Because it really isn't much of either. PICK ONE for crissakes and make a movie. Here's a word of advice- any time Rotten Tomatoes has a higher critics rating than movie viewer rating, you've got a pint o'trouble.  Sure, the Celtic hardcore (I'm Celtic, I can criticize) see a movie with grainy brew in it, they go nuts. "Hey look! It's one of us!" So why ISN'T it a movie about the original premise? The cast was fully capable of doing a funny but serious movie about the people we know who never moved on- a la Dazed and Confused's Matthew McC. But all of a sudden there are robots. At first you think- maybe these aren't real, just a drunken illusion. But then the movie makes a stupid turn and somehow they have to get to the last pub. I'm sorry- despite my love of Simon Pegg- and despite the fact that I loved Shaun of the Dead, Run Fat Boy Run, Hot Fuzz, etc.- I did NOT love this.  Sigh.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lee Daniels' The Butler

First of all, let's get one thing straight. This movie is 95% FICTION- it is not historical (other than some of the references to presidential order and black panthers) and it is NOT true to the real story. The actual Butler's memoirs would tell you that the Butler had one son who went to Viet Nam and came home healthy, had one faithful wife who didn't drink or fool around, never was called a "house nigger", never had a mother (played by Mariah Carey, for Pete's sake) raped by a plantation owner's son, and never had a father SHOT over it, never felt like a token at the White House dinner or treated poorly by other staff at that event, never said Ronnie Reagan was against civil rights (in fact, had fond memories of the Reagans), never protested Mandela, never had a second son who was a revolutionary, etc, etc. NEVER. That is what is so pathetic- that movie goers will believe this is really a true retelling of the story of Eugene Allen. It is a sad and sorry anti-white movie about a fictional man with a fictional family. The mere fact that Jane Fonda is cast as Nancy Reagan should tell you something. So, never mind that Oprah plays a  20 year old woman and then morphs into a 70 year old woman and looks the same throughout- at least she is plausible. I'm no fan of her, but she is really a great actress. What kind of movie casts Robin Williams as Eisenhower, Alan Rickman as Reagan, some dude as Kennedy, etc? I cannot tell you how mad I was that a movie that could have been a dramatic TRUE story of a real White House butler was turned into some sort of bizarre lie marketed as the truth. It's up to you if you want to see this, but certainly do a little research on the topic before you swallow this crap hook, line and ridiculous.  And by the way, the current use of the apostrophe for a name ending in "s" is to go ahead and PUT the apostrophe S. That ought to tell you how much they care about what is right.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Another film about how rich people are SO rich that they can totally separate themselves from the poor by creating their own Elysium- hilariously led by Matt Damon who is worth $65 million. I just love that. Keep in mind if you see this, that Mr Damon is also notoriously vocal about gun violence and gun control.  But that 65mil didn't come from NOT making movies where guns and graphic violence are used to entertain. The script is full of ridiculous loopholes- and it is pretty funny that when rich scriptwriters and actors think of the future, the earth is always destroyed by people who evidently cannot bathe, cannot pick up trash and rely on crappy medical care. Is that because the rich stop making soap and trash cans?  That might be part of the problem.  I know it is science fiction, but you'll notice there is also some race baiting here.  I groaned a few times in this movie- are audiences that stupid that they fall for these lines? Yeah, okay okay, it is "science fiction"- but obviously the actors believe in the story. I don't like apocalyptic sci-fi (stop asking why I WENT to it- I had to review it), but aside from that, I loved District 9 and other movies. I loved Mad Max. But this movie is just too much. And Matt Damon should be ashamed of himself because this movie implies he believes the rich are bad and hoarde all the money, and the poor are victims living in a wasteland.  It was very gory and kind of digusting. And it cost $33 for 2 of us to see it. No wonder the rich get richer!!! I'd say skip it if you can't separate Damon from the role he plays.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Heat

Hahahahaha. Just writing the title of this movie made me laugh. OF COURSE it is funny. Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock could make a movie with the two of them just standing there making faces and I'd be entertained. But put them together as cop/FBI crime solvers, and that is a combination that just screams fun.  Were there a few over the top, not too funny moments? Well, yeah. But sometimes you have to have those because otherwise the movie becomes a sort of torture of too much laughing. McCarthy's character is almost (key word here is ALMOST)  too much, but the fact that she can play it with a wink gets the viewer past the silliness. Bullock is, as usual, the restrained woman who loosens up. A lot. I highly recommend this IF you like movies like this. Most buddy movies have male leads- and this is a refreshing change. Just don't expect a cerebral experience of any kind and you'll do great.

Monsters University

There is everything to like about this prequel to Monsters, Inc.  If you loved Monsters, Inc you will love Monsters University. If you went to college, you'll recognize some of these monsters (as people).  The animation is great, the story is cute and it is a great prequel because it answers any questions you might have about Sully and the gang. I am probably going to watch this a few more times when it comes out on cable. Yep- I'm a sucker for it.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Now You See Me

OH, so what if it is illogical? So what if it is plodding in spots? So what? I liked it. I wouldn't go see it twice- or even sit through half of it- but while in the actual theater eating overly salted popcorn (thanks IPic), it wasn't half bad. I liked the premise. Just when I thought I knew who dunnit, well, they didn't dunnit. The cast is PACKED, I tell ya. Now, the mere fact that no one really reviewed this movie until yesterday ought to tip you off that it might be a stinker. But I'd all ready bought tickets ahead of time and well, I made up my mind not to read any more bad reviews but to be honest and objective. And I liked it.  Just pretend it is REAL, and just pretend you are one of a band of people who really DO see the magic show in person and you will like it. There are two scenes you won't like- first is the obligatory car chase- (yawn)- and next is any scene with Mark Ruffalo and some French chick you've never seen before (Melanie Laurent). Their chemistry is about as good as my chemistry grades were. When he kisses her will be the ONE time you will really have to say "I don't believe any of this". In the meantime, I don't think it was all that bad and you should go see it. Get up during the chase scene and go get some popcorn with less salt.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Frances Ha

Don't read the good reviews of this film- read the BAD reviews. Because there are a certain amount of hipster doofus reviewers that love pretentious film making in black and white (for no reason other than hipster doofusness) and love bad dialogue about 27 year olds who still have no idea how to make a real living. Maybe, if you like the whining losers on "Girls", you will like the happy losers in Frances Ha. I don't know when 27 got to be called "young adult". It's really close to 30, and a great many people understand the meaning of adulthood around 19 or so. There was nothing cool or avant garde about this movie. Stunningly- there was not ONE funny thing in it- not a clever line or even a likeable romance. It is virtually a stream of self-consciousness from a lead character who performs like an idiot- devoid of common sense, self-awareness,  or any real charm- just a stupid smile. And we are supposed to root for her. It has been compared to Annie Hall- close but no cigar.  I really don't care which critics like this (maybe because it has almost everyone in it that Baumbach and his lead actress girlfriend might know?). It was not a good movie. In fact, if this is what living in New York does to an educated woman's brain (as seen in both the character and the actress/scriptwriter who plays her), well, you might want to encourage your daughters to stay in their hometowns.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness 3D

Of course I loved this- though it wasn't at all what I expected due to J J Abrams. You know what I mean by that. I was in high school when the very first Star Trek with wild Bill Shatner came out. I thought it was the campiest thing I'd ever seen. I still do. I assume it was a tribute to our naivete and obsession with outer space that made some people go stark, staring crazy over it. The only episode I liked was the one with tribbles. And there happens to BE a tribble in this one. But I have been a huge fan of the full-length movies that have been made. Enough of me. This is not quite as good as the last one, but it is good enough. The 3 D just didn't impress me. The edges were fuzzy on occasion. So so don't bother with the 3D. There was little "back story" in this- but I guess the special effects are supposed to make up for it. You will learn one VERY interesting thing in this movie. Something you've always wondered. That alone is worth the ticket.

The Iceman

Did you like The Sopranos? Do you like movies with lots of murders of bad people BY a bad person? Then you'll like this. Because murder is murder is murder in these sorts of "hit man" films, you have definitely seen all this before. It's based on a "true story" of a hit man named Kuklinski- he worked for a mobster and rubbed out the people who pissed them off. Never saw that before. Anyhoo, it is played by the really evil looking Michael Shannon (who scares ME). Various people waltz in and out of scenes. Kuklinski is worth reading about on Wikipedia- then you can see if this would be your cup of cyanide, so to speak. If you watch Dexter, Kuklinski was the original Iceman killer.  Lots of blood and gore, lots of psychopathic behavior and not much redeeming value.  As these types of movies go, this one is just mediocre.


After you see this film, and you should because it is one of those intersecting or parallel events kind of movie, you will a)sign up for lifelock b) demand all the passwords for every account your kid has and c) seriously think about going back to the good old days. It is about the power of misuse of the internet, and even though you think you are safe online, you never are. You truly are one programmer or support staff person away from having your identity stolen, your kids exploited, etc. Everyone comes close to disaster and some succeed. I'd recommend you see it as a not so gentle reminder of the age we live in. It isn't a 4 star movie because you've seen it before on reality shows, but it is well acted by several ensembles of good actors If you liked Crash, etc, you will like this.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Great Gatsby (3-D)

Baz Luhrmann (of Moulin Rouge fame- one of my favorite pictures) had to make a decision- remake Gatsby as a boring, rehash of what has all ready been done  (and the boring applies to the film with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow), OR take his usual use of imagery and contemporary feel and make it a real visual extravaganza. Fortunately, he chose number two and used Jay-Z to throw in some music. Because WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU DO if you wanted any commercial audience to give a damn. Look, anyone who went to a halfway decent high school probably had this book on their reading list. I have no idea if  Luhrmann and his co-writers lifted exact dialogue (other than "Old Sport"). If I had to bet, I'd say they did. I'm sure there are a lot of people who will positively HATE this film. But with a book this dated, with a story everyone knows, I'm not sure what people would expect Luhrmann to do. Get real here. It is a spectacle-complete with fireworks and dance- and I loved it. So did Alex. It is flashy and beautiful and lively and fun. I was actually surprised at how much I liked it. I think DiCaprio is a fine Gatsby- why not? If Robert Redford could do it, then Leo can. Cary Mulligan is gamine and yet horrifyingy insecure and weak as Daisy. Tobey Maguire is the only weak link- he really is a tad too boring for his role as narrator.  I've never thought of this book as being about decadence- but Luhrmann must believe in decadence, because he goes out of his WAY to make the setting opulent. Beyond opulent.  If you are going to see this, give Luhrmann his due and see it in 3D. There are 4 other movie versions, an opera, 3 plays and a computer game on this.  Have fun!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Before I get to the movie part, I have to mention that I find NO American actor more confusing than Matthew McConaughey. He brushes his teeth with comet, doesn't use deodorant and looks like he has never, ever washed his hair. Yet, he stuffs all that weirdness into Armani suits. He's been in some horrible movies, and yet, he has done some wonderful stuff. Back to the movie now- this is one of his wonderful things. MUD is the name of the title character played by MM. What is this about? Well, two fantastic tween boy actors (called Ellis and NeckBone in the script)  skitter off on a small skiff to an island in the river where a deserted boat, put there by a storm, is up in a tree. They've claimed it but lo and behold, Mud is living in it. At this point, you might be thinking "hey look- they have done a modern day Huck Finn!" Yeah, well, kind of- it has the Mississippi and boys. But not really.  It is about love and learning rejection and regret and how we all learn to start over no matter what our age. The ending is particularly sweet when it is made clear, by a simple smile, that we all put our broken hearts back together with amazing rapidity when we are 14. This isn't for kids- it is too mature a subject and there is some scary shooting at people going on. Plus Reese ("DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??") Witherspoon plays a kind of slutty girlfriend of Mud's. This movie is really kind of enchanting. The boys were cast because they could handle a boat and ride a dirt bike with ease. The director was on a tight schedule and couldn't take the time to teach a kid that. Wise choice. I loved the acting in this. There is a reason why everyone who has reviewed it has loved it. Go see it if you get a chance. It is limited release. I have no idea why.


The screenwriters sat down and said: "Let's steal stuff from Star Wars and  The Matrix, let's put in some scenes they've seen before a million times, let's get a nice set and borrow the backdrops from Mad Max and then STICK TOM CRUISE in it! They won't even notice the hokey story!" And there you have it. Of course, you are always pretty sure Tom isn't going to die, he usually doesn't,  so there goes the suspense. The set is nice though- and Tom does his usual run run run hide hide hide shoot shoot get caught wiggle away acting job. Sometimes I wonder how he gets the energy to give a damn anymore. Maybe that explains why he took the role of Stacie Jaxx. SO now you know everything you need to know. But I was disappointed. I'll go watch a rerun of Collateral- the best Tom Cruise movie. It'll help.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pain & Gain

You'll be reminded several times in this movie that it is a true story. Except the actors are much better looking than the real people. Basically it is about a group of really stupid body builders who decide to kidnap a few rich people then steal all of their assets. And it works for them until it doesn't. They are cruel and do some ridiculous things- all true. I liked the movie but I enjoy watching Marky Mark and The Rock anytime they make a movie. I found it hard to believe that this all actually happened- but then, just for me I guess, there was a television show about this bunch of idiots. It is sad in parts because you know it is true, and the victims here do not fare well. It is scary in parts because it is true- there are actually murderous idiots who think they will not get caught by stealing all your assets then killing you. If the idea of that upsets you, don't go see it. But if you are good at pretending this could never happen in real life, then go see it. The real problem with the story is that there is so little humor in it- and really little tension or drama. I think that would make most people walk away with a "meh".  I don't think it is that bad.  Maybe wait until it is on cable?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel team up in Danny Boyle's new film about a stolen Goya, a hypnotherapist, a gang that uses torture, and twisty turns and backflashes and hocus pocus "is it real or isn't it" stuff. Now, I didn't like Inception because of all the stuff that could not POSSIBLY have happened and the crappy scene in the middle with all the fighting. I didn't like Memento because there were real cracks in the logic. REAL cracks. But if you liked those two movies, you'll probably like this one. We spent about a half hour after seeing this debating what really  happened and the order it happened in. Yep- it's that sort of movie. What really helps is the cast is great. So if you get lost, you just watch them act for a while until you can catch back up. I thought it was pretty good- I wouldn't have been sad to have missed it entirely though. I like thought provoking movies but not movies where I have to actually figure out what is happening. There is a difference.Some critics called it "sleek"- I would say it is more like a box of hidden trinkets, and it is up to you to dump it out and see what is there.  So go see it if you like disjointed movies- don't go see it if you don't. There. Ta da.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines

There's good, there's great and there's some not so good. But overall, this movie really should have a wide audience. First, the not so good- it is too long. The first half of the film takes too long to establish something the audience all ready figures out- that Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a big screw up and it won't end well for him. The good is that the director really knows how to make the audience sit on the edge of their seats, and since the movie is new, no one really knows what to expect so the tension is palpable in the theater.  The great part is that once Bradley Cooper (looking rather plain as Avery, a feat in itself) steps in, the whole thing ramps up. It has a generational plot- the fathers- Luke and Avery- both have sons of the same age. And when the movie skips ahead 15 years, the depth of loss for everyone unfolds. It is a pretty good movie, and though it is in limited release, it should gain some traction and do well. I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OZ the Great and Powerful

You know what this movie needed? More charm and a different cast. Never has James Franco been more sadly miscast than in this movie. The problem is that we KNOW the Wizard- we've met him before at every Christmas season. We don't just SORT of know him, we reallllly know him. Just like we know Dorothy. And the wicked witch and Glinda, yada yada. These people are like our family- some are evil and some are sweet. So to drop Franco in here and have him act basically like he is NOT like the man we know as the wizard, well, we don't have to care about him, do we? The special effects are fun, but the movie suffers at times from very bad writing. I wanted to click my  heels together and repeat "there's no place like home" several times. But then I remembered- it was I who begged to see it asap; it was I who went online and bought the tickets; it was I who got all excited. I may have set my expectations a tad high - maybe no one could have done a better job. But alas- I have no one to berate but myself and Sam Raimi. Pitifully, the WRITING credits include L Frank Baum. Poor guy- he's not here to defend himself. He would not have come up with this poorly cast film. I'm sad. Go see it if you must.  I give it 2 stars because it is okay in a sentimental and technological way. It will not give you the warm fuzzies at all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Side Effects

I love a well crafted thriller. I'll spare the personal suspense and tell you that this is, indeed, a well crafted thriller. For about the first hour, you just try to sort out some sort of truth. For the second hour, you are into the unraveling of the mystery. No matter how I'd try to explain the plot, it would ruin it for you because every detail means something- so pay attention!. So I'll say this- Jude Law and Rooney Mara just steal this movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones is just not that good here, but it doesn' t  matter one bit. Law and Rooney walk away with it. I was ready for a nap when I sat down in my IPic recliner,  just because I'd had a long day. The minute the movie started, it just grabbed me and continued to hold on to the very end. It was well scripted, well acted and well directed. I'd go see it again just to see if I missed anything. Go see it. Go. Right now.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Identity Thief

Well, evidently most of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes don't follow the cardinal rule of the Flickerchick: It is what it is.  Don't expect a comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman to rise to some level of sophistication. Don't expect it to not be predictable. But you can expect it to be raunchy, occasionally time wasting, silly, graphic, weakly scripted and HIGHLY DEPENDENT on the talent of its cast. Luckily for the audience, McCarthy's comedic skill combined with Bateman's deadpan and kindly delivery make for a fair amount of hilarity and some laugh out loud moments.  I had seen the 29% approval rating on rotten tomatoes, but the viewers gave it a 72% at last count- so something is rotten in tomatoland. There just shouldn't be that sort of discrepancy. And I was right. It will certainly entertain alot of people - alot more than 29%-who are just tired of the heavy dramas that have been out there. It entertained me and I am a tough audience. The theater was packed, too.  I'd say you should take the attitude of "do I think I should spend time watching silly comedy?" and if the answer is yes, them by all means go enjoy it. (If I could give an actor a star rating, I'd give McCarthy 4 of em).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Zero Dark Forty

Katherine Bigelow (Hurt Locker) directs this account of the 10 years leading up to and including the killing of USB (you know the military and government- there is an acronym for everything, and this is for Usama (yes with a U) Bin Laden). The first 2 hours almost do you in because you are trying to sew together the cloth of this intrigue, and you have to work to keep it all together. It's slow going but not boring. Then the last half hour starts your heart pounding and rivets your attention on the bravest people on the planet- the Seals who went in and killed BinLaden. Like Argo, you know how this ends before you even buy your ticket, but this makes Argo look like a child's movie. If you have a grain of feeling for 9/11 and for all victims of terrorism, you will not flinch at the shoot to kill. The criticism of the torture scenes is a bunch of bull- I actually wouldn't call that torture. Now, what the Japanese did to Americans in the Bataan death march- THAT is torture. But we Americans are now a short memoried, let the other guy do it, too nice for words, and poorly educated about war in general- so some people self-righteously scream about it. Well, I felt none of that. I felt the scenes were honest and  Bigelow was directing a story that she felt should respect the truth. Anyhoo, you should see it if you haven't all ready. Be prepared for a slow lead up. Oh, and be SURE to remember the last half hour of the movie in REALITY that Obama was playing his 66th round of golf of his 27 month presidency, and quit after 9 holes to go to the situation briefing room to see how it was going. He knew it was going down yet he played golf instead. If you check out the pictures, the CIA provided a jacket for him so he wouldn't be photographed in his golf shirt- which he doesn't allow the press to do. Who is your hero now? (Just asking.)  Because it should be your brave voluntary military.  I'm giving it 4 stars because Bigelow has guts, and Jessica Chastain is not a pretty woman so she has the right face to make the part believable and does a fantastic job.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

You are thinking- hey, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence- what's not to like? Hmmmm. I'll tell you. Being in the company of people with OCD, ADD, sex addiction, obsession and bipolar disorder with restraining orders is not always a basket of fun.  Not that it isn't doable but midway through this movie- just when you want to run out of the theater screaming- it CHANGES! Now it is a ballroom dance competition, and football betting,etc, and SUDDENLY the mental illness is no longer relevant. You mean to say after sitting in the theater begging Bradley Cooper to take his seroquil, suddenly the viewer is set free like a bird to watch him dance like Fred Astaire? oh yes. Not that it isn't a relief. But this movie needed to make up its mind- you don't cure mental illness and become the sane one in the room by waltzing with an equally nutty woman who becomes sexually promiscuous the second she feels any rejection.
Robert DeNiro left his career in the ashes long ago. It's been a 10 year decline, and this is another of the same. I guess actors like Cooper and Lawrence will do anything - not a bad idea in a town where your career can disappear, and you are left being fodder for Dancing with the Stars and the National Enquirer's "where are they now" section- but these actors are better than this material.  Shockingly, so many critics liked this and found not ONE thing to say about the bizarre script- I am gobsmacked.  So I will assume I have lost part of my mind, and I missed something (but I doubt it). So I'll compromise- instead of 1.5 stars, I will give it 2.  Good luck with that.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Sigh. I liked it. Not alot though. My movie-mate hated it. BUT would I say to watch it?- (it is out on DVD, etc), well, yes. Being from Louisiana, it always saddens me that there is some assumption that people who live close to the land are ignorant, illiterate and vulgar. I can tell you that many of the people who are fishermen or shrimpers or oystermen are college educated, are close to their families and live decent and kind lives. But somehow, the film industry thinks it is best to just do some cultural profiling and invent a stereotype, and frankly, it does piss me off. So it is hard for me to watch this sort of film. I got through it by pretending that it was directed by Guillermo DelToro- that really helped me deal with the bizarre imagery. As for the acting- I guess this is very good. The little girl (who was probably 8 at the time of filming) is phenomenal. She's a natural and the directors did a great job with her. The other actors have such brutal and surreal action that I have to give them credit.  It's about a group of people (filthy, sad, stereotypical red neck, etc) who live on a small barrier island on the other side of a long levee in Louisiana. One day a Katrinaesque storm comes in, the filthy squalor is now covered in mud, and the drunk father and the little girl and the others get forcibly removed, but they break out and get back (why???) to their lives.  I like to think it is NOT trying to be real, but is rather a tale of woe- not meant to be taken literally. Sigh. It is dark and very morose. But since I liked the kid, here are 2 stars.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Les Miserables

Mon Dieu! I'm calling BS on this. If you haven't seen the stage production, where have you been? Victor Hugo spins in his grave. The "stars" actually sing LIVE while the filming is going on (no trips to the recording studio), and the director has chosen the BEST take and used it. And when you sop up the blood from your poor ears, you will have to ask yourself how this could have been the BEST take- there were worse??. Well, there is Russell Crowe positively bleating out his songs like a sheep being neutered. It is painful to watch and worse to hear.  Amanda Seyfried uses a vibrato that sounds like a Minnie Mouse electric toothbrush set on stun. Hugh Jackman is possibly the very worst because he is a former broadway guy who has had real lessons and he has NO excuse- his vibrato is a loopy, wavy mess never landing on pitch. And because she cuts her hair to nubbins and sings a weepy, nose runny, rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream", Anne Hathaway is almost credible.  It is a beautiful song, but just because one sings it slowly, and with "this is a sowwy sowwy mess" eyes, doesn't do it justice.  The only one worth a damn is the little girl who sings the role of the child Cosette, and she does a fantastic job of "there is a castle on a cloud".  My husband had never seen Les Mis(z) before- and he loved the sets (I agree), loved the costumes (I agree) and summed it up like this- "the real problem with the movie is not the singing, it's the fact that Les Mis(z) is really a boring POS."  Well, I don't agree because the singing sucked also.  If you have fond and glorious memories of a well-sung, professional stage performance of this, don't go to the movie. You'll have to take Advil for your sore ears and tired rear end (it's a LONG one) and tight neck from shaking your head in disbelief.  And if I see Helena Bonham Carter dressed up like Mad Margaret (look it up) just ONE MORE time, I don't know but that I won't start screaming in the theater.  For the sake of Minerva, GIVE THE SHTICK A REST, HELENA.   I give it 2 stars because, well, they really tried and I should have known better. It doesn't really deserve it.

Monsters, Inc 3-D

ACK! I loved it. I've seen the original at least 5 times. The first time, I was mesmerized by the fur on Sully- keep your eyes on it. Each hair seems to have a life of its own.  I adore the story. The only thing that creeps me out (then AND now) is Boo. Odd that I find a pack of monsters to look normal, but the human child seems freakish. Oh well. This is so charming, with just enough monster action to scare kids a teensy bit, that I cannot imagine someone NOT liking it.  John Goodman and Billy Crystal were excellent choices to do the major characters voice work. Normally, I can't stand recognizable celebrities in animation voice work. It is highly distracting to see a character that looks one way (like Nemo) but sounds like Ellen.  Most people probably don't mind.  But it really works here. OH, go see it even if you don't have a little kid to take with you. And save your 3D glasses- they are so much better than the black ones. Much clearer.

Life of Pi

If you read other reviews, you can certainly tell which reviewer (few) read the bestseller, and who didn't. You are about to read the review of one who didn't- which turned out to be good since the ending is really a surprise. I'll assume YOU haven't read the book, either. Good.
This is a gorgeous movie-just beautiful to behold. The colors, the imagery, the lighting- all wonderful. As a first timer to the material, you start to feel that someone is spinning a beautiful and elaborate yarn to entertain you- that something is a little off, but you believe the narrative. The tale is so well told that you wholeheartedly participate in the suspension of belief and ride the waves for over 200 days with the boy and his travel companion, a Bengal tiger. It is a lovely movie, if overly long. I will always grouse a bit about the lack of editing. Why do directors fall so in love with their work that they are willing to risk the attention of their audience? Especially in a movie like this where a great deal of time is spent with nothing happening. That said, just relax and enjoy the sheer beauty of the film- it is a simple tale of survival on the sea, but one with religious overtones. Then go home and read how they made everything so real.