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.