Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This is one of the worst movies ever done. I almost couldn't believe I sat through it. I wasn't alone- people filing out of the theater were babbling about what it meant. I read the book so long ago that the plot could and did elude me. Half the time you couldn't even guess which character was which when referred to by name. I'll tell you what I think- anyone (including some snobby critic) who tells you they thought the film was understandable is a pretentious fibber. Okay-they are lying. It is as obtuse as it can be without actually existing. Most people struggled to understand who the characters were, what they were doing, and what it meant. Some scenes were totally without purpose. The film has a heavy, moody atmosphere so that you can try to recall the Cold War and what it meant to be a spy in those heady days. I cannot recommend this film to anyone who hasn't read the original novel. It is stupid for a film to require the audience to sit in bewilderment. And if you haven't read the book, then that person in the audience could be you. Don't waste your money. Don't fall for the reviewers who gush over this mess. It isn't anything other than posing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol

Here we go again- the MI franchise continues to roll along with plenty of action, plenty of simple plot lines and a little twist at the end. It is as predictable as Pelosi's politics and has the usual thrills. Of course, most of the stuff in it is impossible. But if you are in the theater to watch this, then you KNOW what to expect.  Tom Cruise looks old and tired. I promise you that I love Cruise as much as the next person (and I'm not saying "as much as the next guy" because that has implications).  At any moment I expected Cruise to step out of character, look at the audience, and say "You know I have to do this stuff because Scientology and Suri's shoes ain't cheap". If you want more sophistication with your imaginary science, then you should just stick to Bond films. But this movie was sort of fun though the genre felt sort of tired. As the flickerchick says, it is what it is. If you like preposterous movies with lots of action, this one was made just for you. If you feel that Tom Cruise is past his adventuresome prime and should limit himself to more romantic or realistic films, then it isn't for you. Take your pick.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

War Horse

 Take a seat- and bring your cushion- because from previews to credits this is an astounding 3 hours. Which is not to say that is the only thing it has in common with Gone With the Wind. Speilberg mercilessly rips off battle casualty scenes and orange shaded shots into the sunset- no kidding, I expected Scarlett to show up waving a yam at least twice. I digress. It's a "boy and his horse" movie. It's based on the children's book (war themes) series (1982) and then the play (London now Broadway) and now is this overwrought film. I enjoyed it  but the editor in me went crazy on occasion.  The background is WWI- a personal favorite of mine for the sheer stupidity and loss of it all. Of course, the horse was a very important part of war prior to humvees and drones. War horses were sometimes famous depending on whose rear sat atop them. The viewer does grow to love this horse (Joey). And we root for the kid who trained it. But it is almost as sappy in spots as Heidi. It's too bad the Dutch girl in the film couldn't be played by Shirley Temple about 70 years ago. Aw, I am being too harsh. It is really kind of brutal in spots- horses are shot, people are shot, Joey gets an up close and personal experience with barbed wire- and for that, I don't think a kid under 10 should see this. Go at your own peril. Speilberg has become a bit of a crap shoot, and I can't decide if this was worth the 3 hours. If you love horses, go on and see it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Muppets

Who better than Jason Segel and Amy Adams to be the humans in the wealth of nostalgia that is The Muppets? From the first moment to the credits, anyone over 30 will have very specific and lovely memories of The Muppets themselves. Alex and I agree that the only muppet we don't care for is Miss Piggy- but even  she has some nice moments here in her Anna Wintour silver wig. Kermit is his adorable and yet still insecure self. And the new star is Walter- the muppet who finds his niche in the world when he joins the group.  It has the typical Muppets save the day theme, with short and clever songs that are well sung. Everyone in the audience smiled the whole time. I can't think of a movie where the characters are more familiar and more beloved than the muppets are. The movie is great. The adults get the jokes and, as usual, there are double entendres that kids won't get. One of the best moments is the chickens clucking to CeeLo Green's F-you song. The audience members who know the real, original words were laughing out loud. I can't imagine missing this cute, warm hearted, familiar and well done movie. It is the best way to spend your entertainment money right now.


When Martin Scorsese does a film, critics tremble in their boots. Therefore, many critics, especially those of note, will give him wide berth and be very kind, if not obsequious. I'm not one of those people. What a damn tedious film this is. For the first half, any one who hasn't read the published synposis is going to be LOST as to where this film is going. Is it about an orphan? Is it about an automaton? Is it about street vignettes? Is it about a mean old man? Is it about young love? Guess what- it's not about ANY of that ( or maybe it is boringly about ALL of that).  I have no idea why the good reviews. This could have been a very good movie if it had been about the character played by Ben Kingsley. But it isn't about him until the last 20 minutes when we are all supposed to stand up and cheer the sheer brilliance of Scorsese. Forget it. It felt like the longest 3 hours of my life and the movie was only 2 hours long. Jeez louise- it is a mess and you are expected to eat it. Don't go. It gets 2 stars for the sheer beauty of the photography, 3D and the sets. That's it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Descendants

You probably know this film stars George Clooney in every scene. Most George Clooney movies do that. I guess the producers have to get their money's worth. But in all fairness, Clooney can be very, very good. And in this one, he is very, very good. Basically, Clooney plays a (mostly)white descendant of  a Hawaiian princess (a few generations back) who is now trustee for a bunch of cousins who now must sell their inherited land- he is a lawyer, husband to a woman who is dying from a reckless accident and lies in a coma, father to one rambunctiously acting out pre-teen and one rebellious teen daughter. In a little twist, his wife has had an affair prior to dying and Clooney develops an obsession with finding the man and what it means. Alexander Payne is really good at what he does- this film is no exception. He gets great performances out of every actor. The end is fairly predictable, but it isn't the destination that is the point of this movie- it's the journey. The kids are very good, very real and very likeable. Clooney has a few moments of silly mugging- it stands out because they are serious scenes that didn't need his subdued slapstick. But if he does win Best Actor, it is understandable. He has to go from being a husband in shock and grief, to a husband who is angry, to a husband who is resentful, to a husband who is confused. His role is stretched almost to the bounds of credulity- but yet, I guess it COULD happen that way. Any way, if my husband says it was a perfect movie, then there is something for everyone.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tower Heist

Yes, it is over the top schlocky nonsense. Yes, it stars a very random cast with Alan Alda, Eddie Murphy, Gabore Sidibe, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck- etc- and yes, they should have all known better. But you are in on the joke. This movie isn't trying to be serious at all. Alda plays a villain so rank that he should be wearing a black cape and twirling a moustache. Stiller is the earnest hotel manager who must right the wrong he has done. Sidibe is a "don't deport me" safe cracker. Eddie is the streetwise petty criminal.  It's all too easy. There's a tower, and there's a heist. Yet, somehow the silliness of it all is entertaining. You know how it will end before you even get there- and if it feels familiar, well, go rent the original Charlie's Angels. Same feeling. Fluffy and easy to watch and also easy to forget.  I'm glad I went, but I'm sorry I paid full price!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Puss In Boots (Imax 3-D)

Awwww. This is just about perfect- the animation, the story, the beloved Puss in Boots from Shrek.  It's a "before Puss was in Shrek" background story. And it is great. Just great. I only had 10 people in the audience with me, and they didn't laugh out loud- but they didn't look like the types to get the jokes that were from such movies as Fight Club, etc. If you love cats, you'll get the same visceral reaction to an animated cat as you would from a real one. Antonio Banderas is the voice of Puss and Zack Galifianakis is the voice of Humpty Dumpty.  Salma Hayak provides the sultry voice of Kitty Softpaws. The first half is slower than the second, and the second half is far funnier. Stay for the animated credits- short but fun.  I can't imagine someone giving this film a bad review- even if they are cat haters! I really enjoyed the IMAX 3D. If you get the chance to see it that way, do so. I give it 4 stars because on a rainy, cold and miserable Seattle day, it is just what you need to cheer up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


You can always tell it's a remake when the woman behind you SINGS EVERY LAST NOTE of EVERY SONG.  How annoying is that? And yes, it's quite a remake- it's full of updated dancing moves and slutty girls, etc. Very modern of them. Dennis Quaid is the preacher dad and Julianne Hough is the preacher's daughter (with what looks like some solid restalyne in the upper lip area making her a little duck-like to watch).  The problem isn't the acting, even if Julianne Hough seems limited to acting with her eyes and not that frozen mouth. The problem is that the story is hugely dated. And there is no way to update it short of putting the entire mess in a Southern Baptist Day Camp where, in some way, dancing might be forbidden. But no, it's still in Bomont Georgia. The music is catchy, the acting is passable, the script is okay and very unoriginal- but  the problem is the novelty has worn off. It really was better in the original. So, spend your money if you will, but you've been forewarned. It is just not good enough to stand up to the original.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Steel

The title is actually a description of what you need to put in your undies from sitting for 127 minutes in order to watch a movie that, from the first frame, you know how it will end. But end it will. What happens in those 127 minutes? Okay- if you are a 10 year old boy- EVERYTHING- robots boxing, a kid reunites with his long lost dad and becomes his own hero, a pretty girl wears Daisy Duke shorts and no bra at times, and fighting- lots of fighting!  If you are an adult who tripped over your kid's transformers until your feet bled, it's a pleasant, winsome and at times funny movie. It is also the most blatant piece of commercial product placement I have EVER seen! If you get bored, just play "count the products".The final scene takes place in the Bing arena, sponsored by XBOX 720, Pepsi, redbull or whatever the kid is drinking with enough caffeine to kill him, and numerous other products. But you can see that the producers figured this movie might be a dicey sell to the audience, and so they had to sell out while they could. Look, I liked it. I found the kid to be a great little actor. Hugh Jackman acts like he is sleep walking through the mugging machine, and Evangeline Lilly acts like the patient girl who knows Jackman really has a heart of gold-yada. OF COURSE it is lame and you've seen it a thousand times before- it's generic and sappy in parts. But the kid- the kid is great.Oh- and the robot, too. We humans think that anything else that has eyes also can see the world as we do, even if it a newt or a muppet. The robot has a real relationship with the kid-I blame it on the eyes- at least as far as the kid is concerned. So, you've been forewarned. Reread this two or three times and be sure you are signing up for the right movie.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ides of March

Let's have a quiz- how many ways can you spell CLICHE? Well, there's THAT way and then there is "Ides of March".  It's supposed to be a story of political intrigue and how dirty politics are. But it starts out with every liberal anti-Republican cliche that can be said- but lo and behold, then it skippitydoodahs right on out of there so that George Clooney can show you that Democrats can be just as bad. What a surprise- who knew? Clooney, a die hard liberal despite his villa in Lake Como, carbon footprint like Sasquatch and fake teeth, has remade a mishmash of The Candidate, True Colors, Murder at 1600, Power and probably almost every other political movie except Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Look, I love George Clooney in the abstract- he is funny and dashing and doesn't pretend to be interested in home and hearth- fine by me. But this film is carried totally  by the cast because it is a great cast. There is nothing new- not a damn thing. Not even the interpretation. All politicians use the public- because all politicians want to be elected and they don't CARE- repeat after me- they DO NOT CARE- they are saying what YOU want to hear. They might trick themselves into thinking they believe it UNLESS their numbers come in poorly. If you don't understand that about politics, you might be mad at Clooney for picking Democrats to be the focus of the movie rather than the opposition to Democrats (of any ilk).  I don't care one way or the other- he's a multi multi millionaire and I'm not - and that's my problem not his (if it IS a problem). But to make a contrived film that's as predictable as Biden and McCain being best friends, well, jeezuz louisus, George- gimme a break. Any critic who calls this movie profound is an idiot. Okay- here's something- the lighting was fantastic. Kudos to the set designer, too.  Enjoy the handsomeness (excluding Giamatti and Hoffman) because that is all you are getting. It's called the Ides of March and as much as you are hoping for it, no one gets stabbed 23 times. Now THAT would have been a movie!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This is sort of about the Oakland A's- and their turn around based on a mathematical formula for hiring players. It stars Brad Pitt- and really, it only stars Brad Pitt- as the general manager, Billy Bean, who used that formula and went on to break some long standing records for wins. The plot is simple. But it is really well written and is dialogue driven. It has the least amount of sports footage that I've ever seen in a sports movie. It's like a more intelligent Jerry Maguire-but  no real romance, no sex, not much cursing and lots of snappy talk. And it is Brad Pitt who carries the entire film. Jonah Hill was cast as the nebbishy apprentice who keeps the stats and knows the theory- but he is, in my opinion, woefully miscast. He looks every bit like a middle-aged lesbian and nothing like a guy who might be a baseball nerd. The farther you get into the film, the more effeminate he looks. I am not at all sure that is what this movie needed. In fact, Pitt is so likeable and so real in this that he almost needed no one else in the cast. I'm not a huge Pitt fan, but I really respect what he has done in this film. It could easily have been one of the worst movies of the year and instead comes through as one of the best.

Friday, September 30, 2011


The writer of this film happens to have had cancer in his 20s and happens to have had Seth Rogan as the friend who helped him through it- and that is probably why it feels so real. If there is one big reason to see this it would be that it is so genuine. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, the guy with the schwannoma of the spinal cord, (look it up), who is given 50/50 odds of survival. Rogan is his best buddy, the very pretty Bryce Dallas Howard plays Adam's manipulative and needy girlfriend and the bright and chipper Anna Kendrick plays his fledgling therapist in training.  This is NOT a cancer movie despite the haircut, vomiting, chemo and fear that Adam will lose in the end. It is really a guy movie- it is about Adam and Kyle and how friends just don't leave when the going gets tough. It is very funny in spots- and you don't feel guilty laughing. That's unusual in a cancer film.  I am going to highly recommend it, just as other critics have done. Besides- it is easy to root for the sweet faced Gordon-Levitt. I hope that despite the good performance by Kendrick, she will stop with the stereotypical "young professional" roles. She really is in danger of being typecast.  I am giving it 3.5 stars because, as usual, the realist in me has to deduct .5 for the predictable ending. And by that, I don't mean whether or not he survives, but the relationship he ends with. But overall, it's great.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


There's good news and bad news- the good news is Gwyneth Paltrow dies in the first few minutes, but the bad news is that she resurfaces in flashbacks, so don't get all relaxed thinking she's gone for good. Unless you've been in a cave, you know this is about the next great epidemic. And since Matt Damon is in it, you are going to find out that pharmaceutical companies are evil and the people who run the CDC are selfish bastards who would only treat their families first. So take a deep breath and go on in anyway. The first 30 minutes start out great- you just can't WAIT to see where this is headed. Well, it's headed nowhere. I don't care what other critics say because they will be kept from pre-screenings if they don't like Paltrow and Damon. But since the Flickerchick cannot be bought, I'll tell you the truth. It veers into the ridiculous- with a kidnapping that would be useless in reality- I mean, who would care if one CDC worker was hijacked if 70 million people were dead? What's one more? Epidemics are mother nature's way of thinning the herd- it is unfortunate but true. Vaccines are not made in a day, a week, or a month- they take a year. There are no short cuts, except in cinema land. Conveniently, the president is NOT shown because, well, the president is not an evil Republican. SO, lots of cinema and not much verite. Logistically, it has stupid twist at the end- Marion Cotillard is kept from knowing what village she has been taken to, so how can she return to it? It's almost as ridiculous as Jude Law's ("Blimey I'm a Brit") fake tooth.  My partner in crime thought it sucked. As a certified Registered Nurse (I have the license to prove it) who had to take epidemiology and memorize all that stuff, I thought parts were hilarious and ludicrous.  If you think this is a great movie, you should read a few great books on influenza or the plague. It's far better that way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Help

Full disclosure: I lived in Jackson MS for 2 years. I loved Jackson. But if you weren't in the Junior League, and if you weren't from MS, there was no way you could go to a fancy tea with cucumber sandwiches and servants. 
The Help was a rather badly written book that was turned into a much better film. The "spoiled rich white girl" is played up rather nicely (and over the top)  by Ron Howard's talented daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the "victimized" help is played rather nicely by every single person cast in their roles.  Emma Stone plays the writer of a "fictional" book written from interviews of The Help. Stone is aptly named since her face appears frozen and bizarrely fixed in a stare (botox?). She appears unnatural and creepy. It's too bad, because she is charming in other movies. Maybe she needs her thyroid checked? I don't know, but the result is not easy to watch.  However, the acid test was bringing along my husband. He was all ready to take a 2 hour nap but then he actually started to like the movie. So it must be okay. I am going to give it 3 stars despite the obvious message it sends that southerners are bad people.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Wohoo! James Franco, John Lithgow and Andy Serkis (Gollum) create a rather touching film that absolutely creates audience involvement. Evil animal experimenters were booed, and escaped chimps were cheered, and the audience had a very good time. Especially when the humans die.  It is a movie in three parts- and the best part is the time with the chimp as a baby. When the chimp speaks, our audience acted as if a miracle had actually occurred.  Of course, the usual bad guy is the pharmaceutical industry that tests on animals- it's evidently lost on people that without animal testing, it would have to be tested on their children or parents. Anyhoo, throwing realism to the wind, the theme is not as important as you might think. (Perhaps the real problem is that people raise predatory primates as pets. Want your face or someone's testicles quickly removed- then go piss off a chimp).  The CGI is great- almost seamless. When the primates move in a huge group, the CGI fails at times.  But for a good time, it is something to see. It isn't a very deep movie, and it isn't really very moving. But it is fun. That is enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

I have moments where I think I have turned into the Grinch with a mere dash of kindness. Oh, I know, there are truckloads of people who think this is the best movie they've ever seen. I saw this at our IPic theater- you know, the recliner chairs, complimentary popcorn (sort of), reserved seats, no kids under 21. That alone should have softened up my black heart. But it didn't. Maybe it made it worse- because I expected SO much more. It is a comedy- except when it is pathetic and manipulative. I laughed. I got through it. It wasn't a BAD movie. I try not to judge the people who think it was great- but that doesn't mean it was great. It has very slow moments, and it is NOT sweet. There is a sadness throughout it- the people are relatively pathetic. Their relationships are sort of pathetic. Covering it up with a few jokes and sight gags doesn't change the story line. But since most people obviously don't feel like I do, and if you can take Julianne Moore's usual schtick (weep and laugh, weep and laugh), then go see it. You can read the summary anywhere online. This is the only review that should serve as fair warning- I told you so.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain America

I really liked Captain America (in 3D). It was clever, retro, funny, sharp, well edited and tightly scripted. Sure, it's a comic book story. I get it. But it's also very sweet in some spots and yet, it also has enough action to keep you reminded that this is an adventure film. There were no drawn out plot contrivances (like the kind that made me dislike Inception). No heavy thinking. Just sit and have fun watching it. I loved the cast- most of whom you can recognize from such shows as Desperate Housewives- even Anne Boleyn from the Tudors was there in a bit part. But really, except for Tommy Lee Jones and a small part by Stanley Tucci, you can relax and enjoy the movie because you won't be looking at "stars".  I think it was fun. Just like a great comic book should be. I was a little sorry when it was over.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friends with Benefits

This should have been called Justin and Mila Make a Porno- or at least make a silly attempt at sex scenes and casual banter. I am sort of mystified as to why this got 68% on the tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not that Timberlake and Kunis are unlikeable- in fact, they save this movie. If I were a script writer teaching a class in how to write a trite, formulaic, predictable "romantic" comedy, I'm sure 50% of my students would write this exact movie. The sex scenes (and there are bunches of them) are bland and lack passion. What chemistry there is here seems to be killed by the non-stop talking of the characters. And it isn't fun. It ends exactly as you know it will. Both of these actors deserve a far better vehicle. I did laugh out loud several times- but in a two hour run, it wasn't much. Sigh. It gets 2 stars- don't ask me, I should give it 1.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Harry Potter 7.2 (the Deathly Hallows)

Sadly, this wraps up the HP series. We've seen little Daniel Radcliffe go from being the worst child actor ever cast in a film series to being little Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who took his clothes off on Broadway in order to show his magic wand. But this is the final installment, and it is as exciting as it is explanatory. If you have never read a HP book, you might consider yourself a Potterphile- but that would be impossible. Because though the movies are very true to the books, the magic and wonder of the books is in the elegance of writing that is done by J K Rowling. I've read many, many books- some under the duress of a deadline- and not ONE equals the mastery of this series (Keeping in mind I am a huge fan of Dante and love the Inferno). Her books are perfect and should not be read by children who are not ready to read them- there is a progression. And in many ways, the movies are, too. HP7.2 is a dark telling of the battle between good and evil. And the special effects are awesome.  Does the flickerchick have a criticism? Wellllllll, of course- gather round. Obviously my fellow viewer and I found a few moments of it to be comic genius- but we seemed to be the only ones laughing in the theatre. Sometimes, evil doers say things and they just come out campy. This time it was the privilege of Snape to have a few one liners that sounded like they came from an amateur production of Dracula starring your least favorite PE teacher from middle school. Even Voldemort had one that got me.  Was it the intent of the director to have those lines be funny? Well, that is probably for him to know and us to never find out. But other than those, it was true to form. I will miss Harry and the gang. The quasi-sentimental wrap up is also in the book- and I think it was wise of Rowling to put it in there. It ends a lot of pubescent debate groups right there. It'll give me a chance to stop resenting the fact that I didn't go to Hogwarts. Bye Harry, etc- it's been quite a run.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses

This movie is a huge hit at the box office. Hmmm. There are 3 guys, all with ridiculously bad bosses- never mind that they really could quit, never mind that their bosses could all be fined for HR violations, etc. The guys try to hire a hit man then decide to try to kill one another's bosses. This story is a comedy- except that for the first half, it isn't.  If reviewers were totally honest they'd tell you to watch the first 15 minutes, then come back about 20 minutes later and enjoy it when it gets really funny. Is it worth it? well, yes, because the last half is realllllly funny. I don't like Jennifer Aniston, so my review of her performance might be unfair. She is dull. DULL. Her voice is always a monotone and with the botox and fillers, her face doesn't move too much either. And the storyline there is ludicrous.  Jason Sudeikis is great, as is Jason Bateman. I have no idea who that third guy was. If he does another big movie, I'll bother to learn his name.  Jason Sudeikis is cetainly the all-American guy (hard to believe his uncle is the guy Norm on Cheers). Bateman is  almost a leading man.  There are a lot of cameos- my fav was Ron White. It isn't consistently funny, but it is worth it to sit through. I am not going to jump on the "awesome" band wagon.  So, see it, but don't worry if you have to get up to walk the lobby at times.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Midnight in Paris

What's a better movie setting than the city of Paris (at least the good parts of Paris)? Woody Allen films Paris with a golden hue suitable to the City of Light. Midnight in Paris has the typical Woody Allen  nebbishy, insecure guy (the banana nosed Owen Wilson) who searches for happiness, etc- and the over-the-top female lead  (Rachel McAdam)  full of WASPish demands. Wilson yearns for the Paris of the 20s, and magically he time travels back to the days of impressionists and writers and entertainers he understands. It does get a teensy bit old- all the name dropping, and I'm assuming people under 45 might be scratching their heads on occassion. But the beautiful scenery, lovely costuming and introduction to Paris (for those who haven't been) more than make up for any plot dragging. Allen has always tended to self-indulgence but since he is so talented, we always go along for the ride with him.  Since I love Paris (too much), I loved the movie.  Truthfully, I liked Match Point better than this film- but it's a close second. A bonus is that the film is totally padded with half of Hollywood playing one role or another. It's actually kind of fun to see if you can name every actor in the film. Where else this year will you see time travel, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, and Paris in the rain?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Super 8

Here is a little sci-fi movie with an actual heart. I know, that sounds ridiculous since we have all gotten used to sci-fi movies that are contrived and overloaded with effects that destroy any possible story line. It is hard to summarize the film without giving it ALL away in one line, so I won't. But I'll tell you why it is so good- the kids. The kids in this movie are given funny, poignant, silly and realistic dialogue. And each and every one of them does a really good job of it. They interact like kids might have interacted prior to video games- when they had to look one another in the eye and actually have conversations where they entertain one another. And then there's Kyle Chandler- every female's favorite actor. Since it is a science fiction action thriller film, there is plenty of boogah boogah to scare you a teeny bit. But it is the movie these kids can claim as theirs. There is enough humor to make it almost a comedy in spots. It's unfortunate that the military is the bad guy- Hollywood loves to do that. But I'd say it is the best movie so far this year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumalo wrote the screenplay, and Judd Apatow produced it- that ought to tell you that this is going to be a very interesting 2 hours. I have to say that this is NOT a chick flick but yet it feels like one- the script is obviously written by women who see the fun in being female. It is not a chick flick because all the men in the audience laughed out loud, too. Wiig plays the maid of honor who cannot get a thing right, and she sees her best friend sliding away from her- or actually being highjacked by another woman. I think Apatow's touch is particularly noticeable in some of the grosser scenes, and Wiig is truly not the best actress in the film. BUT it is very funny, very predictable, and very adult. Wiig almost slips into some SNL mugging bits but she visibly restrains herself.  There is a weird sweetness to this somewhat bawdy humor. The best character of the lot is the hefty bridesmaid played by Melissa McCarthy- don't worry, no one else has heard of her (unless you watch Mike and Molly on TV)  though Alex swears she was in GO. She steals the show. And some dogs. Don't bring kids- it has a huge amount of very adult material. But do go see it- it is going to make a well-deserved mint for the crew that made it.

Friday, April 15, 2011


See- the title makes perfect sense by the end- the movie is a Win-Win for all the characters and for the audience. There is a gentle charm to Win-Win. It's the story of a a pretty unsuccessful lawyer (the hangdog Paul Giamatti) who coaches a wrestling team when he get guardianship of a rich elderly man so that he can get the $1500 a month guardian fee. Then he does a little sneaky thing that will haunt him. The grandson shows up on the doorstep followed by his druggie mom. The trick is that the kid is a superstar wrestler. So that's the premise- you can see the rest. Films as sweet and interesting and well written as Win-Win should have a large audience because there should be a reward for making a really good movie. It's actually a guy movie in a lot of ways- most of the humor made the guys laugh.  Go see it, and bring a friend and tell your neighbors to see it. It's a Win-Win.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

This is a solid movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, William Macy, Ryan Phillipe and even Frances Fisher. This capable of a cast thoroughly makes up for the holes in the story and the parts that make you go "huh?". I'd rewrite a few scenes because the audience knows who is guilty very early on- because, after all, this is a movie that you know is trying to trick you so the writers shouldn't feel they also have to add a touch of confusion to it. But it was fun to sit through. McConaughey looks thin, mature and finally can carry off movies that require maturity. That goes for Tomei- she still looks winsome, but maturely winsome which means she is really acting now. No more cutesy stuff. 90% of the script is tight. It's about a lawyer who defends the scummy guilty and knows how to get them off. Some deserve it, most don't. Most are mediocre criminals not the big dudes. Then the case of his career is dropped into his lap- and this is what the movie was about. I'd highly recommend it. I enjoyed it even when I did have it all figured out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jane Eyre

I've read Jane Eyre at least 10 times in my life- cover to cover. I did a full 3 pages of it as a dramatic monologue (memorized) in an eighth grade school parent's night. (I'm not sure the parents were as entertained hearing it as I was doing it). So I'm a tough sell. I've seen Jane played by Joan Fontaine, Susannah York, and the unnecessarily unattractive Charlotte Gainsbourg. Jane is supposed to be plain. Very plain- but not downright ugly. And luckily, that part is perfectly played by Mia Wasikowska (Alice from Alice in Wonderland). MiaW is the right size, too- tiny. Jane Eyre is formidable to put to film- it is long, laden with atmosphere and soaked in what would be seen as pure soap opera today. It cannot be too slick or the viewer will begin to groan.  Of all of the films made of Jane Eyre, this is the best. Hopefully everyone has actually read this classic- a bold touch of feminism before its time. If you haven't read it, then at least you should read the fascinating biography of Charlotte Bronte by Rebecca Fraser (it is published under two separate titles though it is the same book). The film is beautiful- the costuming and setting feel so authentic. I think it should be seem by anyone- especially those who loved Jane (and by extension Charlotte Bronte) and loved the story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It's not often you see a quirky animated film about a lizard (Rango) who, in chameleon like fashion, changes his colors and reinvents himself as the town hero. He goes from pet with a pet (a plastic fish), to a gun-totin' sheriff to town hero. There is a nod to almost every western ever made in this odd and yet delightful script. It seemed a little long, and ends the way a good western should. The kids in this audience shouldn't have enjoyed it at all- the humor was very adult in spots, and any homage to westerns would have gone totally over their short heads- let alone the Salvador Dali inspired snake. But they DID enjoy it. I guess the visuals were striking enough and certainly the good-guy-bad-guy theme was explained well enough that kids got it. It is a very clever, mostly funny flick. I just don't know how to explain it. It isn't cutesy- the animation is realistic, the eyes are creepy on every creature, and it shouldn't have been nearly as much fun as it was. But well, it is certainly worth the price of admission.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I must preface this review with the fact that I was housebound for almost a week due to snow and ice, and therefore, my cabin fever may influence just how I saw this movie. I really liked it. It stars Liam Neeson- who uses the same gruff mannerisms and voice as he did in Taken (he likes one word movies). He is big and tough and confused. Neeson also seems to like movies with guns, beatings, car chases and eastern bloc baddies and hotties in them. He's a guy who, after a head injury, has to find out just wth is going on when he seems to be unknown to his own wife.   It moves right along- always a plus in the flickerchick's grade book.  But, the only flaw is January Jones. She makes Gwyneth Paltrow look like Meryl Streep. Jones doesn't even PRETEND to stop acting like she's been cast in "Betty Draper Goes to Berlin". The fact that she is .......(plot spoiler- can't reveal it)...makes it all the more ludicrous. She exudes no intelligence, sexuality or charm. Just like Betty Draper. Such a pretty woman to be sooooo boring. Anyhoo, she isn't on the screen all that much. The rest of the cast is walking through their usual roles in this type of movie- but at least they seem to be acting. I enjoyed it anyway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black Swan

Natalie Portman plays a ballerina cast in the role of the white/black swan in Swan Lake. Mila Kunis plays a rival- but is she? Is Portman's character crazy from the get-go and that's why she still lives with her mother in a pink bedroom full of stuffed animals, scratching herself until she bleeds? Does she bleed or not? Can we see the truth, or is it all a psychosexual illusion?  Well, you got me. I have no idea. Portman's character is so boring for the first half of the film that it's hard to care what happens to her. Mila Kunis, on the other hand, is fascinating- alive and seductive, she brings out some feeling in the audience. Now, some people may be saying that was the point of casting her in opposition to Portman's character. I'd say that I have found Portman's wispy voice and self-effacing demeanor to be annoying and boring. Maybe having a baby will bring something out in her. But her performance is compounded by looking at her brutally thin body. Is it worth seeing- well, perhaps if you like ballet and will enjoy that part of it. But frankly, even movies with quirks shouldn't totally leave the audience wondering about what they have seen.